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
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.
Finding a tenant yourself
If you don’t want to use an agent there are several ways you can 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
Help from Private Rented Service Newcastle
The Private Rented Service Newcastle may be able to help you find a tenant.
To qualify your property will need to meet the Newcastle Housing Accreditation Scheme standards and you will need to agree to our code of conduct.
We provide a range of support services for landlords including advertising your property, checking references and providing Tenancy Agreements.
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 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.
When 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 so you can meet your prospective tenants;
- Let your current tenants know when viewings will take place;
- Have a separate viewings for each possible tenant;
- Hold viewings in daylight to show your property to its best advantage
Before choosing your new tenant you should always carry out proper reference checks to help avoid problems in the future. Get a reference from a current landlord and an employer if possible. If you are considering a first time renter then think about whether you should ask for a bank reference, a character reference or a guarantor. Your reference request should ask for:
- Contact details of the person providing the reference;
- Proof of the tenants current and previous addresses;
- Details of any rent arrears or damage to their current property;
- Employment status and, if applicable, employers contact details
Whenever possible you should ask for references by contacting the referee directly rather than accepting a letter from the prospective tenant. If you ask for a guarantor it’s 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.
Do I need any other information?
To make an informed decision about whether someone is the right tenant you should also:
- Ask if they will claim Housing Benefit or paying the rent themselves;
- Find out who will be living with them;
- Think about carrying out out a credit check;
- Consider visiting them in their current home to see if they are taking care of it
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
You don’t need to carry out Right to Rent checks for tenants living in:
- Social housing, a care home, hospice or hospital;
- A hostel or refuge, mobile home or student accommodation;
- Tied accommodation that is provided as part of a job;
- A property where the lease is seven years or more.
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.
Completing 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;
- Check the documents are originals and belong to the tenant;
- Check photographs are of the tenant;
- Check dates of birth are the same on all documents;
- Ask for supporting documents if names aren’t the same on all documents, for example a marriage certificate;
- Make sure the documents aren’t damaged or altered
- 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
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.