Why tenant background checks are important for landlords

UK Home Improvement

Why Tenant Background Checks Are Important for Landlords

As a buy-to-let Landlord, the most important decision you will make is which property you decide to buy. But the second-most pivotal decision will be who you accept as a tenant.

Beyond the desire to avoid becoming consumed by petty disputes or unnecessary conflict, you will want to avoid difficult tenants because a great tenant will certainly lead to better investment returns. Here’s how:

Good tenants add value to a property

By using their green fingers in the garden they may enhance the overall appeal of any outdoor space you have, which will have a permanent effect. Tenants won’t generally expect to rip out plants from flowerbeds as they vacate. 

Tenants may perform small patch-up or maintenance work themselves. If they’re proactive and care about their immediate working space being in good working order, it’s easy to understand why they may perform modest tasks like fixing lightbulbs, straightening a leaning door, or painting over scuff marks on walls. 

Good tenants will cause less damage

When you picture a bad tenant, the first image you’ll hold is a tenant who neglects your property and treats your furniture with little respect. They may also break rules such as bringing a pet into the home, which could result in a huge repair bill when they leave. A good tenant is naturally the antidote to these wear & tear risks. Good tenants treat the property as if it was their own, and quickly report maintenance issues (such as a leaking pipe) for your attention that could cause further costs if not remedied quickly. They’ll likely take out a renters insurance policy if they’re conservative and don’t want any late costs because of damage to the property. This will put them at ease regarding any fair deductions from their deposit for damage.

Good tenants have longer tenancies

Good tenants will form bonds with their neighbours, that in turn will increase their loyalty to the property itself, giving them one less reason to leave. This means that as a landlord you can enjoy longer tenancy periods and lower risk of a void period between tenants.

They’re also more likely to have stable jobs, which results in a stable financial position. You can count on them to pay their rent on time, and not be forced to move back in with their parents after the sudden loss of their income.

How can you separate the good tenants from the bad? 

Of course, you do not have a crystal ball. Short of holding a full interview, obtaining a list of character references, and leveraging the opportunity to speak to prior landlords, you’ll never feel adequately armed with information. 

It’s not about getting 100% assurance on whether a tenant will add or subtract value. It’s instead about collecting as much data as possible to make a good decision. 

Tenancy background checks are the tool you can use to collect that data. Here is a general summary of what you can expect to learn from a tenant check report:

Prior convictions

You can learn a lot about someone’s previous character by the convictions they have collected. Only a small % of crimes result in a successful conviction, so by no means does a clean sheet mean that you’re dealing with a highly ethical individual, but this should provide some peace of mind that you know all the publicly available facts about the prospective tenant.

Credit record

Understanding whether the tenant has missed any payments on their borrowings

Evidence of income & employment history

Useful information that will help you determine the financial position of the prospective tenant by learning about what they do.

Prior tenancy history

A pattern of frequent moves within a local area suggests that something hasn’t been going right for the tenant, with the tenant being the only common connection. 


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