If you’ve got the property ready, and you’re thinking about letting it to a prospective tenant, there’s a list of things that you need to have in place before you hand over those keys!
Make Sure That You Know as Much as Possible First!If you or your letting agent has done the paperwork properly, you should be able to tell a lot about the potential tenant before they move into your property. You will have carried out all the reference checks – employment and income, identity, previous landlords reference if possible, maybe a personal reference and obviously a credit reference. This won’t tell you everything but will at least give you a good idea about their character and their likelihood of paying the rent!
References may not always tell the whole truth about a potential tenant so use your common sense and if you’re in any way concerned, say no. It’s your property.
If you’re faced with an over keen prospective tenant looking for somewhere immediately, be wary. These tend to be the type of tenant that you really need to check up on before you let them move into your property, so don’t take pity on them until you have everything you need reference, paperwork and money wise!
Agreements and PaymentsAlways insist on a full month’s rent in advance from a new tenant, ask for the tenancy deposit up front and never, without exception, give a prospective tenant the keys to your property until you have the payment cleared in your bank.
Don’t let anyone move in without signing an official tenancy agreement, and make sure that the agreement you keep hold of has original signatures on it. Before you start the tenancy, make sure everything essential is covered in the tenancy agreement, including any conditions such as whether pets are allowed or smoking is permitted in the property. Also make sure that your agreement is up to date as the law changes frequently – for example a standard tenancy agreement form that was printed prior to 2007 would not carry details about the tenancy deposit scheme so would not be legal.
When you take your deposit, you need to protect it through a government authorised Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme, so make sure that you have this set up before you get to the point where you’re signing contracts.
Before the tenant moves into the property, get a completed standing order form from them for the rent.