Up and down the United Kingdom, rental properties are in higher demand than they’ve been at any other time in recorded history. As buying becomes less of a realistic property for millions, the public in general is finding it has little choice but to seek quality and affordable rental properties. In fact, recent studies have shown that the average rental property will as of mid-2015 only sit on the market for an average of two weeks before being let out – again, an all-time record.
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily add up to a recipe for success for buy-to-let investors. According to the experts at AlbrightDene, it takes a great deal of savvy and cunning to target not only the right properties, but also the perfect tenants in order to fully capitalise on the UK’s explosive rental market. And with demand being so high up and down the UK, it’s technically easier than ever before to find yourself lumped with problem tenants and facing all manner of financial and legal quarrels.
So with this in mind, what can be done by any proactive buy-to-let landlord to ensure they pick up on the very best tenants?
1 – Reference Checks
Well, first of all there’s really nothing more useful or revealing than references obtained from prior landlords and property owners. Assuming they’ve rented before, it’s 100% guaranteed that their former landlords will have something to say about them one way or the other. It’s common practice to ask for references and should not be overlooked. Even if they appear to be wholly above board on the surface, it’s in your best interests to find out how they are when it comes to letting out your property to them.
2 – Credit Checks
In terms of financial backgrounds, some would argue that carrying out credit checks is something heavy-handed and thus unnecessary. However, it’s entirely up to you as the landlord as to how much importance you put on the person’s credit history. It’s worth remembering that just because they don’t have a perfect credit history does not for one minute mean that they won’t be able to pay their rent and bills. But at the same time, if they have nothing but arrears and missed payments on their long-term track record, you’ll be taking a risk by taking them on.
3 – Use an Agency
Perhaps the easiest and most effective approach of all when it comes to targeting the right tenants is to get the professionals to do it for you. When you seek tenants through an agency, you tap into its professionalism, experience and reach, which makes it infinitely more likely that you’ll get the bets tenants for the right price. They find the best tenants, they carry out the vetting process on your behalf and they also sort out the admin. And if that wasn’t enough, they’ll also step in when and where problems occur and handle the less pleasant side of things if push comes to shove. These services are worth their weight in gold and considered a must by seasoned buy-to-let investors.
4 – Take Your Time
As mentioned above, demand for rental properties up and down the UK has never been higher. As such, there’s really no sense in rushing to get your property to let out as while vacant inventory is hardly desirable, chances are there’s a queue a mile long of tenants that would love to live in your place. This in turn means that there’s no sense in letting it out to anyone you aren’t 100% sure of – it’s better to just keep on looking until you find a better fit.
5 – Meet in Person
It’s surprisingly common for landlords to let out their properties to tenants without ever having met them or even spoken to them directly in person. For obvious reasons this is never a good idea, though admittedly can be a bit on the tricky side if you live on one side of the UK and let out on the other. When and where possible though, in-person meetings are an absolute must and are usually quite on the revealing side.
6 – Go With Your Gut
Last but not least, never forget that as this is your property and you don’t owe anything to anyone, you don’t have to justify yourself if you decided to turn down a tenant’s application. This in turn means you can and should go with your gut – trust your instincts and let your judgement be your guide. If for any reason at all you just get the feeling they’re not the tenants for you, keep looking until you find tenants that are.