There is often a focus in the press over mistreated tenants, and without doubt there are negligent landlords who really should know better. However, that being said in our years in the industry we have also seen challenges at the other end of the spectrum – tenants who have taken advantage and made their landlord’s life extremely difficult. So the team at LMA Property have compiled a how to guide, written specifically for all landlords, especially those who are renting properties out for the first time, on how to protect yourselves in the worst case scenario.
- Background checks & references
Getting a tenant is a pretty big deal – you need to trust them to live, maintain and respect your house. So just as you wouldn’t enter into a business deal or take on an employee without undertaking a thorough background check, the same should be true for a tenant. It can seem like a huge inconvenience, but as you know is true – short term pain for long term gain, so make sure to carry out:
- Credit checks
- Employment status/history
- Current and previous rental details
- Employment references
- Landlord references
- Landlord insurance
This is often forgotten, but landlord insurance is actually an extremely cost-effective way of protecting yourself. Packages can start at relatively reasonable prices and cover a range of tenant issues including missing rent payments, legal charges as well as any damages to your property. Hopefully, you never have to call upon this one, but when dealing with tenants it really is better to be safe than sorry.
- Landlord inventory
Not just because at LMA property we are experts in carrying out thorough and precise landlord inventories. Seriously, making sure you have a detailed record of the type, location and condition of all your fixtures and furniture can help protect you at the end of the lease and make sure that if there are any damages you can prove it.
- Trust your gut/don’t be afraid to say no
Many landlords are desperate to fill their property and in their haste will take on any candidate who is willing to pay, even if they have reservations. Don’t be afraid to listen to your gut – yes, the loss of income can be hurtful, but difficult tenants will always be more expensive than a vacant lot so make sure you take your gut instinct into account.
- Regular property inspections
This is easily forgotten because when your tenant has settled in and they are paying every month, the job is essentially done. However, it is important you continually check in on the state of the house – ask your tenants if you can pop in for a coffee and see if there is anything you can help them with, and if you are paying for a management service with an agency make sure this is included! We check on our managed properties three times per year. Good relationships can lead to longer-lasting tenancies too and we really would encourage all landlords to have at least biannual checks with their tenants.
If you have any more questions or would like some help managing your property we are always happy to offer a complementary consultation. Feel free to give us a call on 020 3893 8635 or drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org