Business Development Manager Toni Heath discusses the important process of screening and selecting tenants.
Tenant screening and selection is a vital part of the process in ensuring we find the most suitable tenants for an investment property. Landlords want tenants who’ll care for a rental property and make it their home whilst fulfilling all their obligations. Before signing a tenancy agreement we will gather information about potential tenants, to help you make your decision.
We follow the below processes when finding the best tenants for a property:
1. Viewing / Interview with potential tenants
At the property viewing, we take advantage of this time to interview tenants, asking if the rental property suits their needs and if they’re interested in living there. We let prospective tenants know our expectations as property managers and we are available to answer any questions they may have.
Here are some frequently talked about topics with potential tenants:
- is the home suitable for them
- the last two places they rented and why they moved
- whether they’ve been involved in any tenancy disputes
- their circumstances and ability to pay the rent
- how many people will live in the house
- whether they have pets
- what sort of tenancy you both prefer (fixed-term or periodic)
We also discuss specific terms that will be added into the tenancy agreement. For example no pets, or who’s responsible for mowing the lawns. We will ask if they have any worries about meeting these obligations.
2. Tenancy application Form
A tenancy application form gathers important information about potential tenants, as well as providing vital information to the tenant about the property they are applying for.
This can help decide if a tenant is right for the tenancy and property.
3. Check references
In a tenancy application form, potential tenants often provide details of a couple of referees. These may be a friend, a co-worker, their employer or anyone else who knows them well. It’s useful though if one referee is the tenant’s current or previous landlord.
Ensure that the tenant has let their chosen referees know that they may be contacted. Once we talk to a referee, we try to get an idea of the potential tenant’s behaviour and past tenancies, by asking questions such as, whether tenants returned calls promptly, if maintenance or repairs issues were reported, did they keep the place reasonably clean and tidy, and if they were ever overdue with rent and what they did about it.
4. Check credit history
In the tenancy application form potential tenants give their consent to check their credit history. You need to subscribe to a credit-checking agency to check a tenant’s credit report.
5. Check for Tenancy Tribunal history
Its always good to ask if the potential tenants have been to the Tenancy Tribunal before. You may ask them why they went to the Tenancy Tribunal, and if they put the application forward or had an application made against them.
Never accept a potential tenant’s application to rent a property until all checks have been done and you have fulfilled all legal requirements, best practice means not skipping of any reference or credit checks.
Any tenant selection and screening must also follow strict privacy laws and must not breach the Human Rights Act or discriminate, e.g. you can’t decide who to rent to or whether to continue a tenancy if your reasons breach the Human Rights Act by turning down a potential tenant because of their ethnicity, gender, age or marital/family status to only name a few.
If you have any questions about screening or selecting tenants, feel free to get in contact with us via the online form below.