Tips for Finding the Right Buy-to-Let Tenant.

The right tenant can bring a great amount of relief to any landlord as it will save them time and money.

The perfect tenant will pay their rent on time and look after the property while they will also want to stay at the property for some time which can help to avoid periods where the property is empty.

While this may be somewhat out of your control, there are things that you can do to give you a better start.

You have to be sure about your tenants so you have to really dig deep to find out everything you need to know. Confirm that they are able to make payments each month and ask for the last three months bank statements. Finding out whether they are in part or full-time employment will enable you understand whether they can afford to rent from you.

To do this, speak to previous landlords that they may have had and credit reference agencies that will be able to tell you whether they have any history of paying bills on time.

You can obtain a reference from their employer and if they are a first time renter then speaking with friends or family can help you to find out more information.

Of course, an agency can do all of this for you but they will charge you a fee.

Managing your buy-to-let property investment yourself can result in a huge amount of paperwork. Ensure that you have a tight and legally-binding tenancy agreement drawn up. This will protect both parties should things go wrong.

A tenant will be required to pay a minimum of one month’s worth of rent as a deposit. How quickly they pay this will offer you an insight into how good they will be at making other payments.

Do not give your tenants the keys until you have received your deposit. You will have to register the deposit with a protection scheme as this will protect it and help to settle any disagreements over repairs or damage.

An inventory will enable you to keep a track of what items are in the property as well as any existing problems or damage. The document should be signed by both parties.

Are your tenants who they say they are? New rules being introduced in England will mean that landlords are responsible for ensuring that their tenants have a right to rent. This means that they are legally permitted to live in the UK which means you should take copies of passports and all immigration documents.

If you fail to do this then you could be hit with a hefty fine, especially if it turns out that they should not be in the UK. If you do have a tenant who is in the country illegally then all landlords have to report them to the home office.

Meeting a potential tenant can help you to get a feel for what they are like as an individual which in turn will help you to use your gut instinct. You can ask yourself questions about how organised they may be or whether they seem the type to complain.

It is important to remember that the best tenants do not always have to have a job or a solid income. They can still cause damage to your property and cause you problems.

Mark Burns

Mark Burns is a Director and Property Investment Consultant at Hopwood House. With over 10 years' experience in property investment, Mark has provided investors with a wide range of opportunities in exotic locations around the world.

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