One of the questions asked by most first-time landlords is how to tell whether a tenant is going to be a good investment or not. When it comes to tenanting your property and trusting somebody else inside your pride and joy, there’s no try before you buy.
There are definitely a few tenant tells that should provide you with some guidance about whether to let them sign on the dotted line of the tenancy agreement…or not.
If a potential tenant turns up late to a viewing without a decent excuse, this is an early warning that they might be difficult to deal with, because there’s a fine line between letting to a fashionista and catering to a diva.
If they’re really interested in your property and invested in creating a landlord/tenant relationship they should be on time, barring global catastrophes or public transport fails.
A list of demands
If the potential tenant spends the viewing pointing out the tiniest flaws in the property and ripping apart everything that isn’t perfect (when it comes to decor, tenants may have to live and let live), their behaviour is telling you that they’re likely to be demanding.
If you’ve got the time to deal with petty demands, go right ahead. Everyone else should consider employing a very patient managing agent or looking for another tenant.
What’s on offer?
What kind of offer have they made, and how have they made it? In the housing market, everybody wants a deal so don’t be put off by someone who offers under the asking price. It’s not what they offer – it’s how they offer it.
So a would-be tenant who tells you how much he likes the property and explains why he’s unable to offer the full rental asking price might still be worth considering. Someone who offers significantly lower than what you want without any explanation may not.
Something to hide
Once you’ve taken a holding deposit, if a tenant is reluctant to fill out the credit checks or supply references, it might be worth looking again. Remember, the holding deposit doesn’t commit you – if you haven’t signed a tenancy agreement you can simply return it.
So, if someone is dragging their heels at this point, it might be an early indication that they’ll be dragging them throughout the tenancy too.
Those who know best
For all of the above, we can’t overestimate the importance of consulting your letting agent and asking them for feedback from viewings. In the early stages, they’ll have had the most interaction with your potential tenants and will be in the best position to advise you about who to go forward with.
When it comes to securing a decent tenant, remember that it’s a two way street. Really valuable tenants will want you to provide that they’re in good hands.