It’s almost Halloween, and while we may appreciate the spooky nature of this time of the year, nobody wants a nightmare tenant!
As you know, Belvoir are here to make your life as a landlord as stress free as possible- because we understand that finding tenants and managing properties can be demanding and hard work.
So, without further ado, let us briefly explain how we keep nightmares on Elm Street and not in your properties.
Good referencing is perhaps the most vital factor in ensuring only tenants that are perfect for your property are able to rent from you! The purpose of referencing is to check the person is who they say they are, that they can afford the rent and that they haven’t had a history of not paying rent (or other debts) in the past.
One of the things we look at is an employer’s reference. This may be from a tenant’s current employer or if they are self-employed, we request to see accounts or other proof of income and expenditure such as 6 months’ bank statements to show that they have a steady income.
This process allows us to see any breaks in employment over the previous 6 months, or to bring up anything that could suggest the tenant’s ability to pay could either be affected or not feasible.
Previous Landlord References
Previous landlord references ensure the tenant is reliable and trustworthy. The aim is to find out information such as how responsible and timely the tenants were with their payments and whether any complaints were issued from neighbours for whatever reason.
All agents do current landlord references but if this relates to a nightmare tenant the current Landlord is likely to provide a positive reference to get rid of their problem tenant. We contact their historic landlords as well as their current landlords as they are often more open and honest with their review now that they are no longer affected.
We find that social media platforms, such as Facebook are a great way of learning about a potential applicant. On the application, it may say they are a single person, non-smoker and with no pets. Yet their Facebook page suggests otherwise…
Proof of ID and Residency
Proof of address is an important part of reference checking. We ask to see the last two quarters worth of utility bills, mobile phone bills or active bank or credit statements in that person’s name as a check on their most recent address.
The reason proof of identity is so important is because if there is someone living in your property who is not legally allowed in the UK, then it is the landlord that will face the fines. Right to Rent requires landlords or householders to establish that tenants or lodgers have a right to be in the country. Failure to comply can lead to fines of up to £3,000 a tenant, while those who knowingly rent to people with no right to be in the country can face up to five years in prison.
We recommended a basic credit check as a bare minimum and this usually costs about £10. The information this provides will give you an indication of credit worthiness. However, as you would expect, the credit references we undertake are far more substantial than those readily available and offer a far deeper insight to a tenant’s history and ability to fulfil their financial obligations
Missed payments on credit cards and loans will have a detrimental effect on your credit score but depending on the value, these my not be preventative. However evidence of CCJ’s and/or IVA’s will likely cause an application to fail our tenant referencing process.
At Belvoir, we use DVD inventories to verify without question or doubt any dilapidations caused during a tenancy. This provides equal support to both landlord and tenant upon vacating. This helps to prevent disputes over possible damages… and aids a smoother transition from the previous tenancy to the new one.
Tenant Liability Insurance
Tenant liability insurance is a mandatory requirement with our agency. This means that if any accidental damage occurs during the tenancy, such as an over filled bath etc. Both the tenants and landlord’s assets are insured.
A Recipe for Success
With all of this background checking, we have also developed a number of additional office procedures to ensure we can be satisfied that any potential tenants we put forward for a property will be the best match available for our landlords.
Rather than our negotiators being commission driven, we choose to pay a higher salary than the market average and avoid the potential for a substandard applicant being recommended for a property.
Our experience within the industry has shown that a financially driven incentive to let properties quickly, can often lead to the speed of let overtaking the quality of applicants, and this creates far greater and more fundamental problems over the duration of a tenancy. We want prospective tenants to pass the referencing, however we take our responsibilities as an agent to mitigate potential risk very seriously.
All the above enables us to ensure that the very best applicants are attracted to the best landlords, offering the very best standards of properties. This underpins our company mission.
When you have all these elements together you stand the best chance of exceeding both a tenants and a landlords expectations (and avoiding any nightmares on any street!)