The number of tenant evictions reached record levels last year as 37,739 tenants – public and private – were removed from properties. Overall, this is a sad and worrying trend but a number of these will be the result of problem tenants, which a landlord must do all they can to avoid. A thorough tenant reference check can save a landlord from a nightmare. The likelihood of finding a good tenant who will stick around is greatly increased with a little due diligence and research. Agents will offer this service, but often at quite a high rate (although some online agents such as Rentify offer free background checks). If you do want to conduct your own tenant reference check, here’s what you should do:
Whether you’re saying goodbye to your new best friend or celebrating seeing the back of a troublesome rogue, you should always oversee the tenant check out professionally. You need to ascertain whether the property is in an acceptable state and, if not, how much of the deposit should be kept. If you produced a thorough inventory at the start of the tenancy then the check out should be fairly straightforward. Continue reading
Many landlords will be able to relate to the issue of tenants leaving behind goods, from the mundane to the extreme, such as land rovers and designer clothes. So, if you are a landlord in this position follow our guide on how to solve the issue within the legal constraints.
Stated under common law, a landlord is ‘responsible for the safe-keeping of a tenant’s left behind possessions’ and therefore becomes an ‘involuntary bailee’ pending collection. Continue reading
Every landlord knows the importance of a thorough inventory. But it often takes a bad experience to really hammer home precisely how it should be conducted to give you as much security as possible. Rentify does not want you to have to go through that bad experience! It is especially important that you have clear evidence of the condition of the property (signed by both parties) now that a tenancy deposit scheme is required by law. If there is a dispute over damages and how much deposit is to be paid back, a dispute resolution service will place the burden of proof on the landlord. So if you cannot prove the damage was caused under the stewardship of the tenant, you will not be able to claim money from the deposit. Here are a few tips which are sometimes overlooked:
1.) As well as having a thorough check-list detailing the precise condition of all the contents, take good quality photographs of the property. Make sure the date of the photos can be verified (get the tenant to sign and date them). This should provide extra cover for things that would be expensive to repair such as walls, doors and windows. Also, if something is slightly damaged but the tenant makes it considerably worse, photos will give a precise indication of this.
2.) Make sure that you go through the inventory with the tenant and have it signed by them before they move in. It may be tempting to give a little leeway if they seem pleasant and professional but it is not worth the risk!
3.) Do not do the final ‘check out’ inventory until the tenant has moved all of their possessions out of the property. This will reduce the risk of signing the all clear only to have that last wardrobe put a hole in the wall.
4.) You can always leave it to Rentify: our inventories are as thorough as they come!
For a comprehensive, free guide on inventories, check out this booklet from my|deposits, one of the government-approved tenancy deposit schemes.