The tenant application is carefully designed to obtain all the information we need to make sure the tenant fits our requirements. But anyone can look good on paper, right?
So, how do we know this is the one?
First, we need to be sure that the tenant can afford to pay the rent without undue strain.
As a good rule of thumb, rent should be around a third of the (combined) gross income of the applicant(s).
Verify with the tenant’s employer that the pay slips provided with the application are accurate and current. Also confirm his position, employment period, work attitude and ethics. Make sure the work situation is stable and not under some form of probationary period or short-term contract.
If he has been working with the current employer for less than two years, you need to establish that he doesn’t have a history of instability. Check with his previous employer to confirm written details and possible problems.
Do the same thing with past rentals. Call his current landlord or agent to confirm the following details:
- The current rent
- How long he has lived there
- Payment history
- Late payments – how many and how late they were
- Any issues and, if so, how they were handled
- How the property was presented at the routine inspections
- Whether there were any complaints from neighbours
- Whether they would lease a property to this tenant again
At times it will be difficult to get in touch with employers and landlords/agents (current and past), but you must persist. Without having these references confirmed, you can’t take the risk with the tenant. Let the applicant know you are having difficulties reaching these people and that the tenancy application is dependent on contact being made.
Check that there are no obvious issues that may prevent the tenant from being punctual with the rent, or else the tenant’s financial problems will quickly become your problems.
Instability in a tenant will reflect in late payments and an early exit. Short-term tenancies will mean the cost of another marketing campaign and a possible vacancy that will cost money.
If there is any information on the application that conflicts with your investigation, give the tenant the opportunity to explain until you are completely satisfied, one way or another.
Tenant databases are a good idea to make sure you haven’t missed anything major. They are designed to keep records of tenants who have breached the terms of a lease and are collated by privately owned companies that are commercially operated.
The service is reasonably inexpensive and useful as a final check in your screening process.
Once you have approved the tenant you can accept a holding deposit from the tenant to secure the property while the documentation is prepared.
In New South Wales, taking a deposit is confirmation that the tenant has been accepted and is legally binding, you cannot change your mind and accept another tenant.
Finally, don’t be tempted to accept a tenant who doesn’t meet the standards. This rarely ends well. The damage caused by the wrong tenant, both emotionally and financially, can be awfully expensive.
George Astudillo is the founder of Property Quarters, an agency that values communication and great relationships with its landlords.
George now has more than 30 years in real estate, including 15 years as the owner of a national real estate franchise. He’s also an accredited auctioneer and is the author of “The Landlord Mindset”, a book with his best tips to help landlords look after their investments. His book has been quoted in the SMH, The Huffington Post and The Age.
As the founder of Property Quarters, George takes great care in looking after his landlord’s investments. Having seen it all and worked with may landlords and tenants, he’s a strong mediator and negotiator and knows how to navigate through property legislation.
George is trusted by his landlords to advise on the financial management of their investments. He’s put in place proven processes to ensure each property he looks after is managed effectively to retain its value, quality tenants and rental income.
If you’re looking for a property manager who thinks like a landlord and whose business is built on tested processes, contact us by clicking HERE.
Copyright © 2022, www.propertyquarters.com.au