Now your property’s ready and you’ve decided how much rent and deposit to charge it’s time to find a new tenant.  Choosing the right person to live in your house is the key to a successful landlord tenant relationship.  Do you feel confident to find a tenant yourself or do you think it would be better to get some help.

Using an agent

If you are using a letting agent to manage your property they will be able to find a tenant for you.  Even if you’re not planning on using an agent to manage your property you could employ their services to find a tenant.

If you do use an agent its worth checking if they are affiliated to any organisations such as the Association of Residential Letting Agents.  You should also check the service they provide, how much they will charge you and read any documents carefully before signing a contract.

Can i find a tenant myself?

If you don’t want to use an agent there are several ways you can use to find a tenant yourself including:

  • Advertising in the local press, shop windows or on the internet
  • Asking around to see if anyone knows someone who is looking for a home to property
  • Contacting universities, colleges or employers to see if they advertise properties to rent
  • Contact the Private Rented Service Newcastle

Can the Private Rented Service Newcastle help?

The Private Rented Service Newcastle may be able to help you find a tenant.  To qualify your property will need to meet Newcastle Housing Accreditation standards and agree to our code of conduct .

We provide a range of services including advertising your property, checking references and providing Tenancy Agreements.  To find out how we could help you go to our Landlords Support Services page.

Advertising your property

If you want to find the right tenant you should make sure you include as much information as possible in your advert.  Describe your property in detail and a include photographs if you can.

Highlight key points such as the number of bedrooms, if there’s a garden and special features.

Remember that although your advert is a “sales pitch” the information must be accurate so provide a realistic description and don’t exaggerate.

You should also say whether you are willing to accept specific types of tenants such as students or those in receipt of benefits.

Viewings

Once someone shows an interest in your property you will need to make arrangements for them to have a look round.  When arranging a viewing you should:

  • Choose a time when you can show them around;
  • This is a great time to meet prospective tenants;
  • Let current tenants when viewings will take place;
  • Have separate viewings for each possible tenant;
  • Hold viewings in daylight to show your property to its best advantage

References

Before choosing your new tenant you should always carry out proper reference checks to help avoid problems in the future.

A simple reference check will include asking for:

  • Contact details
  • Proof of current and previous addresses
  • Details of who will be living in the property
  • Employment status and, if applicable, employers contact details

To make an informed decision about whether someone is the right tenant you will also need to:

  • Ask if they will claim Housing Benefit or pay the rent themselves
  • Carry out a credit check
  • Ask for references from previous landlord if applicable
  • Ask for a personal or employers reference, especially if they haven’t rented a property before
  • Think about asking for a bank reference. There may be a charge for this
  • Consider visiting them in their current home to see if they are taking care of it
  • Decide whether to ask for a guarantor who will pay if your tenant falls behind with the rent.

Whenever possible you should ask for references by writing to the referee rather than accepting a letter from the prospective tenant.  If you ask for a guarantor it’s always best to check them out as well.

Remember – Always try to help if another landlord asks you for a reference for a tenant as next time it may be you asking them for help.

Right to Rent checks

The Immigration Act 2014 says that all private landlords must check that prospective tenants have the right to rent a property in the UK.

You must check the status of everyone over 18 who will be living in the property before signing or renewing a tenancy.  You must do this even if:

  • The person isn’t named on the Tenancy Agreement
  • The Tenancy Agreement isn’t in writing
  • There is no Tenancy Agreement

If your tenant is only allowed to stay in the UK for a limited time you must complete the checks no more than 28 days before the start of the tenancy.

Are there any exceptions?

You will not need to carry out Right to Rent checks for tenants in:

  • Social housing
  • A care home, hospice or hospital
  • A hostel or refuge
  • A mobile home
  • Student accommodation
  • Tied accommodation (a house provided as part of their job)
  • Property where the lease is seven years or more

How do I carry out a Right to Rent check?

When carrying out a Right to Rent check you must:

  • Ask to see the original acceptable documents that allow the tenant to live in the UK
  • Keep a copy of the document with a record of the date you checked them
  • Keep the documents for a year after the tenancy has expired

When you are with the tenant you need to check that:

  • The documents are originals
  • The documents belong to the tenant
  • The photographs are of the tenant
  • The dates of birth are the same on all documents
  • The documents aren’t damaged or look like they’ve been changed
  • Supporting evidence why names on documents are different, for example a marriage certificate

What if my tenant doesn’t have correct documents?

If your tenant doesn’t have the right documents then you must use the Landlord’s Checking Service to find out if the tenant has the right to rent.

If you need help call the government’s Landlord’s helpline on 0300 069 9799.