As a landlord you have to attract new tenants to come and look at your property or properties, all the while competing with many other landlords doing the same thing.  The Insurance Octopus has put together a few handy pointers for when you are looking for new tenants:

Advertising

The most popular advertisement is online to get the best possible exposure for the best possible price, which will increase your chances of renting your property. If you consider the cost of the rent for the area that your property is in and check what other landlords are offering and estate agents, this will then attract the right caliber that you are want.

  • Gumtree is a free online tool for classified ads. Properties in major cities like Manchester and London have a high take-up ratio.  In order to keep your advertisement at the top and on the first page will have to pay to ‘bump up’.  As more advertisements are added, your ad would be pushed further down the list. Also, consider if you are posting more than one advert a month for rental properties, you could benefit from a Gumtree Housing Account.
  • Social Media, sites like Facebook and Twitter are not just for keeping in touch with friends and family and posting photographs and comments, but social media can help your business.  By posting within your own social networking profiles which is seen by friends, friends of friends etc; dependant on your profile settings.  You could also set up a business profile within Facebook and Twitter, which again will also help you to advertise your business.  You could be surprised at how many people could be looking for a new place to live.
  • Dedicated online estate agents type sites.  You can list your property on all the main property portals such as Rightmove, Zoopla or spareroom.co.uk plus many more.  Dependant on how many properties you are listing it can be expensive but again this will attract a good clientele of tenant.
  • Free options, word of mouth, listing in the local newsagents shop maybe free, local supermarkets information points and free newspapers. Again many options for advertising for tenants.

Do you know your property?

Enquiries can be received as soon as you have placed an advertisement so be prepared.  Prospective tenants will ask many questions so you need to know your property well to enable a quick response.

  • Know your property well
  • Know the local area, shops, transport links, neighbours, petrol stations, schools & parks if the tenant has children
  • Has the property been refurbished recently, when was it last decorated, do you have garden, or garage.  Are there any repairs that need to be completed before moving in, when will you finished and what utilities will they be responsible for.

These are just some of the points that will make a great conversation in ‘selling’ your property to the prospective tenant and inviting them along to see the property.

How do you know a good tenant?

You want to get to know your tenant as much as they want to get to know you.  They will be keen to see your property so have questions ready to ask whilst you are showing them around.  Remember they too will have many questions for you.

  • Ask what they do for a living how long have they worked for their employer
  • If they are not working by what means will they be paying for their rent
  • Do they have pets, children, would it be a single tenancy or joint tenancy

If you are happy with the tenants and they are happy with what they see now is the time to complete background checks for credit and rental history. Find out if they are going to be paying you direct each month or if some or all of the monthly payment is coming from another source, for instance housing benefit. Whatever the case may be, watch for potential conflicts of interest.

Are you prepared for your new tenant?

Final things to remember to organize

  • Agree on a date between you for moving into the property and get the lease agreement drawn up and signed by both parties
  • Get a deposit and first months rental upfront before they move into the premises and arrange for the direct debits to be set up for all future payments
  • Advise tenant of the utilities and advise the utility companies of the new tenant details along with readings
  • Hand over the keys once you are happy with everything

All that remains now is for you to organise or update your landlord insurance policy and checking you have the right coverage for the property you are renting out.

Do you need contents cover? Do you need cover for subsidence or accidental damage?  All of the potential risks need to be covered for your protection, your tenants protection and mainly for your business’ protection.