We don’t swipe a product off the supermarket shelf unless we know what it is. Similarly, tenants are made up of many ingredients, and there’s no harm in checking someone’s background when they’re hunting for a home. It ensures you make the right pick before the contract is signed.
Some lettings agents, however, have less regard for this process than we do. Bad tenants can cause headaches and reduce your property’s appeal for future residents, so it’s important to be bold, thorough and questioning when it comes to referencing.
Stay clear of the following perils, because a thorough reference covers them all, and ensures they aren’t a concern…
How can we be reasonably certain that a tenant is going to pay up on time? Plenty of people try to skirt rent deadlines, or claim to have a better track record than they actually do.
Luckily, it’s easy to run a credit check, and see whether they’ve been late, consistently, for any bills. Red flags are quite instantaneous; we ask for the tenant’s permission to do this, so they’re staking truth on the claim to meet rent payments, deposits, or potential repair fees.
Aggressive, noisy or lazy behaviour
While we like to see the best in others, some people are just plain inconsiderate. Every landlord wants tenants who are courteous of their environment. By touching base with previous landlords or letting agents, we get a glimpse as to how they live once the ink has dried on any agreement.
Failing to do so can leave you exposed to a host of personality types. A lazy tenant who can’t ever be bothered to take the recycling out is one thing, but a bullish or rowdy occupant could be a real problem.
Insecure or deceptive employment
In the same vein as our first point, it’s crucial to be certain that someone will pay you at all – they could be fabricating employment history, just to get a literal foot in the door.
This can be dealt with by asking kindly for employer details stretching back two or three years. Summermere starts at the most recent, to get an up-to-date sense of their finances, before crossing over old jobs and paid work records. Then we’ll see if there’s a pattern. It also helps us decide whether they need a separate guarantor.
A mistaken identity…
Despite all of the above, there’s a single distinction left, and it’s the most valuable: is the person you’re assessing who they say they are? A reference should ask for a form of ID (passport, driving licence etc.), and proof of UK residency, such as a birth certificate or long-term visa.
If none of this is provided, your tenant may be breaking the law. In the interests of security, ID checks are a must, so you’re comfortable with every tenancy agreement.
Knowing what to look for is central to a full, no-stone-unturned series of ticks for any prospective resident. Summermere is here to help with the fact-checking you’ll be liable for. Get in touch now for a lettings agency that doesn’t pull its punches when seeking the tenants you deserve.