Tenants are the lifeblood of your business. Choose the wrong type of tenant, and you could face a whole host of problems such as late rental payments, damage to your property, and so on.
Choose the right type of tenant, and you are much more likely to have a stress-free and void-free experience.
So, how do you recruit a great tenant for your property?
Start with correct demographic
Firstly, make sure that your marketing and advertising is aimed at the right tenant demographic.
For example, it may be stating the obvious, but if your property is a student let, then tailor your advertising accordingly. Extol its benefits such as reliable WiFi, excellent transport links to the university, student-essential furnishings (a bed, a table to study at) and easy access to local shops etc.
Or perhaps you are looking for a family to fill your rental property – then show off the child-friendly garden, the ensuite bathrooms, and the great commuter transport links.
Make the criteria clear for your ideal tenant in your advertising, including whether pets are or are not allowed, ditto for smoking and, the minimum income requirement.
Don’t just think about attracting the stereotypical renter
Remember that the stereotypical renter has changed over the last few decades, with it no longer primarily being the domain of the under 35’s.
For example, recent research shows that the number of older renters has reached record levels across the UK, with over-50s accounting for more than one in 10 rented households in Scotland.
Maybe your property would ideally suit a senior professional, so create a dream property for that demographic.
Feedback and maintenance
A beautifully maintained home will attract tenants – so you can cherry-pick the right tenant for you. Keep up to date on any maintenance so your property always looks good.
Also, speak to your current tenant for feedback – is there anything they particularly like about the property or is there something that could be improved?
For the former, make sure you promote this when advertising your let property. For the latter, see if this is something you can repair/replace or change. It could be a simple job that doesn’t cost a lot to do, but makes life easier for the tenant – and the ones coming after.
Have a place where they want to stay
Make sure that your property stands out as somewhere great to stay. If it is an HMO or a block of flats, then are the communal areas up to scratch? Also for HMO’s, providing a cleaner once or twice a month maybe a desirable incentive (as well as keeping all the tenants happy in the property).
If you are targeting high-end clients, invest in add-ons such as extra storage space or lighting, built-in wardrobes, air-conditioning, etc. They will boost the value of the rental property and help you attract the sort of tenant you are looking for.
Have great images and videos of your house
The more you showcase your property, the better chance you have of finding genuine renters rather than time-wasters.
You can never have too many photographs of your property, so click away or invest in a professional photographer. If yours is a furnished let, think about staging the property to emulate the sort of lifestyle your ideal tenant will have.
Good quality videos of the property will also highlight just how great it is, giving prospective tenants a vision of what life could be like living there.
Easy and open communication
Excellent, timely, communication is critical – respond to all enquiries promptly and politely. If you have Go Tenant! software, you can manage all your communications, bookings etc. from one place, making for a streamlined, professional process.
Get introductions and referrals from existing great tenants
Make sure you do all you can to retain your good tenants and encourage them to refer others looking to rent on to you.
In HMO’s, make sure you introduce new tenants to existing tenants so that they can establish good relationships with the other housemates.
When the time comes for these tenants to leave, you may find that you get new (great) tenants simply by word of mouth.
Sifting through the applications
Now we’ve set the scene for making sure your property and all its benefits are showcased to attract an ideal tenant – here are the next steps to help you choose “the one”.
Thoroughly screen a prospective tenant
The Go Tenant! system allows you to automatically pre-qualify prospective tenants with our ‘getting to know you survey’, saving you time and effort in building up a shortlist. This may be a very useful tool when choosing a tenant.
Explore inconsistencies in their stories. Is what a prospective tenant tells you on the phone or in emails consistent with what they put on an application form? If they are lying about anything, you can usually catch them out. Don’t be afraid to ask the same question several times for this reason.
ALWAYS take references. No matter how genuine an applicant can seem, always take references. Speak to a previous landlord (and one before that if possible) and get a reference from their current employer.
Check their social media. While this does sound a bit creepy, social media platforms can help you form a picture of who the prospective tenant is. Don’t just check Facebook; see if they have a LinkedIn profile. This will give a snapshot of their education and professional history, as well as their interests.
What is their attitude like? Do the tenants pass the attitude test when you meet them or on the ‘phone? Are they nice to talk to and friendly and forthcoming? Or, do they seem a bit guarded? If the latter, go with your gut instincts.
While there is no one fool-proof way to secure a great tenant, these tips are a good starting point.
Check out our Filling that void! article for more tips on attracting the right kind of tenant.