Tenant sourcing isn’t always as simple as it seems. If you don’t know what you’re doing when it comes to finding occupiers for your home, it can lead to a whole lot of headaches for landlords.
There are around 4.5 million private rented households in the UK; a figure which is expected to grow in the short-term due to rising interest rates causing a shift in people from the buyer’s market to the rental market. If you are a landlord, it would be worth taking a read of this article in order to understand what precautions you have to take when trying to find the right tenants for your property. We explain how to source the tenants, carry out viewings, reference tenants, and ensure your tenancy agreements are up to scratch.
How should I market my property?
Imagine this, you have just completed some beautiful re-decoration works, put in a new kitchen, lovely new bathroom suite ready for a set of tenants to make your house their new home and now you need to get in front of the prospective tenants. Where is the best place to list your property?
As everyone may already know, Rightmove and Zoopla amongst other portals such as OnTheMarket are the biggest portals out there for properties, whether you’re buying or renting. This being said, the first port of call would be to market your property on the most popular portals. However, for a landlord looking to make a solid return on his/her investment, you don’t want to face these costs before you’ve even started!
In addition to this, the question is how will you, as a landlord, be able to use the comparables and the area knowledge in order to market the property at the correct price. Of course, you may say that you can use Rightmove to check the properties in the area, however, there are finer details such as internal floor area, energy ratings, nearby amenities and a whole host of other details that need to be compared against other nearby properties in order to get the most accurate rental valuation.
This can take a long time and some landlords may not even have access to the resources available in order to do so. This means if you wish to market the property to your prospective tenants in the most efficient and cost-effective way, it’s definitely worth reaching out to agents like Aksum Lets who have accounts with sites such as Rightmove and Zoopla as well as the expertise and local area knowledge in order to optimise the process of listing your property and getting tenants in to view!
Aksum Lets lists properties on Rightmove, Zoopla, OnTheMarket, Facebook and the Aksum Lets website in order to gain as much traction for the property. We then deal with the enquiries that come through and book viewings in for tenants in a block viewing system in order to get all viewings in on one day. This helps keep the process short and sweet and behind the scenes, the landlord does not have to worry about lifting a finger. This is all included in our hands-off tenant find package!
Once you have marketed your property, the next step would be to organise through the enquiries and start setting up some viewings! Viewings are a crucial part of the process especially if you, as the landlord, are present.
Apart from showing off your beautiful home and up selling the newly fitted power shower and brand-new kitchen, it is a good time to have a chat to the tenants, find out their situation and get a vibe from the sort of people they may be. It is important to get to know your prospective tenants before you move to the referencing stage.
There are certain things that can’t be referenced such as a tenant’s personality which can be a deal-breaker even if they have an outstanding reference report. The last thing you want is to think that your tenant is a brilliant on paper, but they have a horrible personality which may upset neighbours or disrupt the street.
So, whether you have your viewings carried out by an agent or you do them yourself, it’s important to know the prospective tenants on a slightly deeper level.
I’ve found tenants, what do I do next?
If you have managed the first step correctly, you will have tenants wanting to proceed to renting your property. THE NEXT PART IS THE MOST IMPORTANT OF THE WHOLE PROCESS, so, take notes!
Referencing is the next step and at Aksum Lets, we take this part very seriously! This is because 9 times out of 10, the referencing outcome will be the best indication as to whether your tenants will be able to afford the rent, pay it on time and maintain your property to a good standard. Our referencing process includes utilising a professional credit referencing agency to carry out a complete credit check, a right to rent check, income reference and landlord reference.
Not all tenants have previous landlords as they may have been living with family or friends, but, the landlord reference is one of the most important as landlords will be able to say whether the property was maintained well and if rent was always paid on time during the term of the tenancy. As a result, try proceeding with tenants who have rented before.
An income reference is also important as it comes straight from the tenant’s employer to state what the tenant’s income is and our credit reference agency ensure this meets a minimum required amount to ensure that even in the worst-case scenarios, a tenant will not default on their rental payments.
The credit reference agency used by Aksum Lets provides a summary report that is sent to landlords, and it shows a breakdown of the references gathered and whether the tenant is acceptable to proceed with. It would be highly recommended to use a credit reference agency as their costs are fairly low and it provides you with peace of mind as the landlord.
Referencing has passed, what now?
Once you have found tenants, and referencing has passed, it’s time to get the tenancy agreement drafted. If you are trying to source tenants solely by yourself, you can reach out to solicitors in order to draft a template tenancy agreement, but this can prove costly and potentially time consuming.
Alternatively, you may be able to find templates on the internet, but, you could run into the problem of some being out of date and unless you’re a professional in the field and keeping up with changes in the law, your tenancy agreement may not reflect recent changes in law in the rental market.
It is best to use a lettings agency like Aksum Lets as they are kept up to date on changes in law. Your tenancy agreements with always be up to date and adherent to laws and regulations. Tenancy agreements are so important to get right as even if you were to sell the house with a tenant in situ, the tenancy agreement remains valid and legally binding to the property and the tenant.
Once you have a tenancy agreement sorted, go ahead and get it signed between yourself and the tenant. Make sure the terms are clear throughout the tenancy agreement, so everyone is on the same page. Once signed and move-in dates are agreed, you’re all good to go!
Make sure that once everything is in place, you prescribe the correct and valid safety documents to your tenants. We have another article talking about your responsibilities as a landlord which you can view here. A list of the documents that need to be prescribed can be found on the government website.
Aksum Lets offer hands-off and hands-on packages for landlords to help finding tenants which include marketing your property, conducting viewings, inventory reports, referencing, tenancy agreements and keys handover to tenants!