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Tenant screening, why is it important?

Latest News and Updates March 28, 2023 434 Views
Tenant screening, why is it important?

Finding the right tenant for your property can be a challenging task, especially if you are new to the rental market. In this article, we will discuss the importance of tenant screening and the key steps to completing a comprehensive screening process.

Why Tenant Screening is Important?

Tenant screening is all about making sure you are making an informed decision about the person who will be living in your property. It helps avoid problematic tenants who may cause financial and legal issues, such as those with a history of late payments, property damage, and eviction. It ensures that tenants have the financial stability to pay rent on time and helps identify responsible tenants who will take care of the property during their tenancy.

As of October 1st, 2022 landlords and agents have a legal obligation to complete a right-to-rent check on all tenants. This will mean checking the immigration status of all tenants, lodgers and any other adults who will be living in the property.

The key steps to the screening process

Application Form

Asking prospective tenants to fill out an application form that includes their personal information, employment details, and rental history is crucial to get a clear picture of who the prospective tenant is. This form can also include questions about their reason for moving, their rental budget, and their preferred move-in date. The more information you can gather at this stage the better as going back and forth can waste time and look unprofessional.

Credit Check

The first and most important step is to complete a credit check on all prospective tenants to determine their credit scores and history. A good credit score indicates that the tenant has a history of paying bills on time and is financially responsible.

Income Verification

You should ask your prospective tenants to provide proof of income, such as payslips or bank statements, to ensure that they have the financial stability to pay rent on time. Asking for employment references is a really good way to verify the information that they have submitted.

Landlord references

Contacting the tenant’s previous landlords to verify their rental history and to ask about their behaviour as a tenant is a vital step to understanding how they will treat your property. Depending on the length of their previous tenancy you can ask for more than one. This step is only possible if the prospective tenant has rented previously.

Right to Rent Check

Conducting a Right to Rent check has been a legal obligation since October 1st 2022 to ensure that the prospective tenant has the legal right to rent in the UK. This involves verifying their identity and immigration status.

Background Check

A criminal background check can provide information on the tenant’s criminal history, including any previous convictions, outstanding warrants, or pending criminal cases. This information can help landlords assess the tenant’s potential risk to the property and other tenants. For example, a tenant with a history of violent crimes or drug-related offences may not be a suitable tenant for a property with families or young children.

Meet the applicant

Meeting the applicant or sometimes called the interview step is essential as it allows landlords to get to know prospective tenants better and ask any initial questions. It provides an opportunity for the landlord to assess the tenant’s personality, communication skills, and behaviour, which are essential factors in determining whether they will be a suitable tenant for the property.

It gives the landlord the opportunity to ask questions about the tenant’s lifestyle, habits, and reason for moving. This information can help the landlord determine whether the tenant’s needs align with the property’s features and the surrounding neighbourhood. For example, a tenant who enjoys hosting parties may not be suitable for a property located in a quiet neighbourhood with strict noise restrictions.

This step also allows the landlord to establish a relationship with the tenant, which can be beneficial for both parties during the tenancy. It can help the landlord understand the tenant’s needs and preferences and address any concerns they may have. Additionally, the tenant may feel more comfortable approaching the landlord with any issues or concerns that may arise during the tenancy.

Conclusion

As a landlord, it is essential to understand the importance of tenant screening in the rental process. A thorough screening process can help you avoid problematic tenants, ensure timely rent payments, and maintain the condition of your property. By conducting credit checks, income verification, reference checks, and background checks, you can make informed decisions about your tenants and protect your investment. We recommend working with a reputable letting agency that has a comprehensive tenant screening process in place to help you find the right tenant for your property. Remember, tenant screening is a critical step in the rental process, and it should not be overlooked or rushed.


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