When interviewing prospective tenants, there are some questions you should ask to help determine if the tenant will be a good fit for your property. These qualifying questions can be asked over the phone. By doing this you can save the time of physically having to show them your property by qualifying a prospective tenant first.
Basic Questions to ask a new tenant
- Why are you moving?
- What is the earliest you could move into your new property?
- What is your monthly income?
- Can you pay the money up front needed for the property?
- How many people will be living in the property?
- Can you provide references?
- Can we do a credit and back ground check on you?
- Have you ever been evicted before?
- Do you have any pets?
Detailed Questions to ask a new tenant that will help to prevent rent arrears and your property getting trashed
- Are you working or on benefits?
- How many hours do you work if on benefits because this can affect what housing benefits you receive?
- Does the income you have stated include tax credits because this can change annually depending on how many hours you work?
- If you do not have 3 years rental history you will need a guarantor who earns 35 times the rental amount per annum.
- Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offence?
- Have you or your partner ever been dependent on drugs or alcohol?
- Are you currently paying back any housing benefit overpayments?
- Do you have or your partner any issues with previous bad credit?
- Can we have information about any bad credit-overall amount, CCJ’s, bankrupt, IVA?
- What is the age of each person who will be living in the property (especially important if on housing benefit)?
- If they have children are they entitled to claim child benefit for the child?
- If on housing benefit, what bedroom rate do they qualify for and what is the contribution amount they would have to pay?
- Does this person smoke?
- Can I have your mobile, telephone and email address?
- Part time workers claiming local housing allowance need to be made aware that their work may contribute to a reduction in local housing allowance (even if they work less than 16 hours) leading to a higher top up being required.
I know what you are thinking!
WOW, I can’t ask all of those questions! If you are thinking this then you are wrong. It is essential that you ask these questions so you can get all the information you need to make the right choice on which tenant takes your property.
You must give thought to what your criteria is? Do you accept smokers, do you accept people on benefits, and do you accept pets?
If you are finding tenants yourself, make sure you set a criteria and stick to it. Design a script of questions ,like the above, that you can ask any new enquiry that calls up about your property.
How do I know I am right?
Before we introduced such a strict lettings criteria we had a big problem with rent arrears and houses getting trashed. My brother and I own over 150 properties and we regularly had to deal with thousands of rental arrears per month. Rather than having that warm and cuddly feeling when a property is rented out straight away we decided that things had to change. With our strict rental criteria we had £2,500 rental arrears in 2012 – that’s right £1.30 a property per month, with these changes!!!
So what’s the catch?
Do we rent properties out in 1 week now-NO!
Do we generally rent properties out in 3-5 weeks-YES!
We have just done a record month in July for the amount of tenant finds we have achieved and this is with having a strict vetting criteria.
If you feel your current letting agent is just throwing anyone into your properties and does not have a strict vetting criteria then give us a call. We cover the whole of the North East- Northumberland, Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Durham, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Bishop Auckland and Darlington.
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