Over the weekend I had an email from one of my Blog reading friends. I thought I would post this below and discuss in this week’s Blog post as it may benefit the rest of my friends who follow the Walsall Property Blog…
Over the past two years I have had three different tenants in my rental property in the Delves area of Walsall. At first each of them came across like ideal tenants. However, not long into each of their tenancies, problems started to arise. To cut a long story short, between the three tenancies there have been months of non-payment, plenty of damage to the property and harassment (in the sense that I was called over 40 times in the space of 4 weeks with requests to change light bulbs, locking themselves out of the property etc).
Why am I attracting these tenants? Is this a common thing with being a Walsall landlord?’’
Well, it looks like you have had your fair share of bad luck with tenants. You are not alone – we have all been there, so don’t let this put you off. I’m going to share some steps to take to help you when looking for the right tenant for you and for your property.
In Walsall, we have great demand for rental property (I’m working on an article where I will share my usual stats with you in the coming weeks) – and unfortunately the supply isn’t as strong as we would like. So looking at that alone, you can afford to be fussy with the type of tenant you would like in your property.
Step One: Viewings
The first thing I would do is arrange a viewing. DO NOT let the property to anyone without them physically seeing it and meeting you at the property. That doesn’t mean that the potential tenant sends someone to view on their behalf, whoever is going to be signing the tenancy documents needs to see the property.
Viewings are essential for me. I have over 20 years experience in meeting new tenants, so this is my chance to get a gut feeling about the tenant. I can ask them a series of questions that sounds like normal chit chat, however the answer I hear will determine whether this is the right tenant for this property.
Step Two: References
I usually make them aware at the viewing that I will need to conduct a credit check, employment/ income and previous landlord references. These are necessary to paint an even clearer picture about the kind of tenant who may be moving into your property.
The reason why I tell them this at the point of viewing is to see how they react. If they say they have no CCJs and their credit is fine and they do not pass, then I would not go ahead with that tenancy. If they tell you that they don’t think their credit is good and they have set up steps to make it better, and then they fail, then it’s down to your gut. If they are being honest about knowing they have poor credit, then they have no intention to deceive.
Step Three: Some Creative Detective Work
You might also want to visit them at the property they are currently renting to see how well they look after it.
You could also type their email address or mobile number into the search bar in Facebook as it may pull up their profile. You can then browse their profiles to build a better idea of the type of tenant you might be moving in to your property.
Step Four: Maintaining your Tenant Landlord Relationship
Once you have the right tenant for your property and they move in, schedule an inspection for 3-4 months into the tenancy and then at least annually thereafter. If any issues arise during the inspection, you can address them there and then.
As for the needy tenant who wants their light bulbs changing etc: I am presuming at first you felt obliged to help, as this is very common from a lot of Walsall private landlords I speak to. One landlord I spoke to was receiving texts late at night and when he wouldn’t reply the tenant threatened to go to the Citizens’ Advice Bureau!
The first thing to do is review your tenancy agreement and make a list of the type of work you are responsible for and the type of work the tenant is responsible for. Put a letter together with this information and state a reasonable time frame to respond to maintenance issues – and make sure you mention that if you are called to minor jobs that they are responsible for, your call out rate is £45 – including locking themselves out.
Send this letter via recorded delivery, or for peace of mind post it through the door and have a neighbour or friend come with you to take a picture.
Don’t get me wrong, we don’t want tenants to NOT report issues with the property but, at the end of the day, you are running a business. Keeping on top of repairs as and when they are reported is better for you as you can keep the property up to date, rather than having a massive payout after a long let. I do always urge tenants to report any maintenance issues directly to us as soon as they arise in fact; it is a term within our tenancy agreements.
I hope this helps you in choosing your next tenants and your luck takes a turn for the better.
Phone: 01922 311016