Finding the right tenants for your property can determine whether your decision to join the rental property market was a good one or not. Although you can’t tell how people will act three or four months down the line, a pivotal point comes when you are interviewing prospective tenants looking to live in your property. This is your opportunity to get a measure of them and figure out if they are going to be a problem or the best tenant ever, or maybe even just a happy medium between the two.
Therefore, the questions you choose to ask in the screening and interviewing stage are crucial. If this is your first time filling the shoes of a landlord, you may be unsure about what you should and shouldn’t ask. Though there is a very good rule of thumb, if something makes you feel uneasy or suspicious, you should ask. To help you out though, we have highlighted the most important questions you should ask every potential tenant before deciding whether to make them an offer.
This is one of the best opening questions to put to tenants. It serves as a way of telling you lots about them, without having to ask a lot of different questions. Listen carefully and be wary of red flags, like they were evicted or had arguments with their previous neighbours or landlord. There could be very genuine reasons though, such as they need a bigger living space or are changing jobs.
Obviously, the quicker you can find a tenant to move into your rented property, the quicker you will make money. However, if a tenant seems to be in a rush to move, it is crucial that you ask why. It may well be that they have a valid reason, but it couldn’t be that they are hiding something that could be serious or even criminal.
It is not necessarily the case that because two tenants visit the property that they are the only ones who intend on moving in. They may try to allow more to stay with them. You should be looking for a maximum of just two people to each bedroom. The less people there are means the less wear and tear your property will be subjected to. Crucially though, there may be insurance or legal stipulations that determine how many can rent your property.
Although in Britain this is something we don’t often speak of in polite conversation, it is a different matter when you are renting a property out. You need any prospective tenants to confirm that they are going to be able to meet the monthly payments on the property. You can work this out by requesting a copy of a bank statement to ensure they have an adequate amount of money coming in every month.
You should also ask them if they are working on a temporary or permanent basis. Ideally, you want a tenant who has steady and permanent employment, but don’t be too put off if they have anything different, if they can afford to pay the rent.
Although the above is not an exhaustive list of questions, it is a good starting point to work from. The important thing is that you are asking questions and trying to figure out if potential tenants are a good match for your property and that you will be able to deal with them over the course of their tenancy.
For more information and guidance in preparing to let your property in the London area, consider investing in the experience of Newington Estates. They are a boutique property firm who have experience in both the for sale and to let markets.