For the sake of one or two minutes on the phone, you can find out enough from a prospective tenant that may mean they won’t be suitable for your property, or the property won’t be suitable for them. Sometimes a tenant will maintain they “just want to view it”, but to skip this step could potentially waste both yours and their time. So, here are a few things to check before arranging a viewing.
This ensures there are the right number and right type of tenants for the property. For instance, I recently had two couples and a friend wanting to share a three-bedroom house. Five adults was probably more wear and tear on the property than I would like but, more importantly, to house them would mean the landlord having to apply for a HMO licence from the council. Conversely, I had two friends wanting to rent a two-bedroom apartment; not a problem I said, but are you happy with the second bedroom being a small single? They weren’t, and thus checking this saved me and them the bother of viewing a flat that wasn’t appropriate for their needs. And then there was the time a parent wanted to move from their flat to the house I had available so their child could have a garden…until I pointed out that (as per the advert) there was no garden.
There’s little point in conducting a viewing only for the tenants to fall in love with a property they won’t pass your referencing criteria for. I’ve written before about the ‘affordability criteria’ commonly used within the industry, which is that the tenants should earn at least 2.5 times the monthly rent per month or 30 times the monthly rent per annum. So…ask them the question e.g. if the rent is £950pcm, ask if the proposed tenants earn in excess of £2,375 per month or £28,500 per year. If they don’t, see whether an alternative solution can be found, such as having a guarantor (guarantors generally need to earn 3 and 36 times the monthly rent per month and per annum respectively) or for them to pay additional monies upfront.
Sometimes properties are vacant and thus available to rent immediately, so it’s beneficial to find tenants who can move in as promptly as possible. On other occasions the property might not be ready for a couple of months, in which case it’s little good showing it to someone who needs to move within a fortnight.
You may also discover that they’re just looking to rent for a short period, which may not fit with what you’re looking for if you want long-term tenants.
If you don’t wish to rent to students or tenants with pets, now’s the time to check and save everyone from a wasted viewing. It works both ways too; invite any questions from the tenants or identify what interested them about the property to ensure their needs will be met.
Checking all of the above in a polite conversational manner will save everyone time and potential frustration, without it needing to be intrusive or off-putting to your potential future tenants.
If you would like more information on ‘vetting’ tenants, please get in touch – you can call me (01968 674601), pop in to see me at our offices (6 Bank Street, Penicuik) or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).