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3 Questions Landlords Should Ask Before Showing A Tenant Your Property

May 28, 2010 – Bringing People & Property Together

How many times have you shown someone a property only for them to turn around and say “Well, it’s nice and when I am ready to move I will give you a call”. GRRR how frustrating!! You have just spent all that time showing somebody a property who is not even looking to move yet!

To make sure you spend your time wisely and only show those candidates who are likely to want to rent your property (and you want to rent it to them) here are 3 key questions you should ask before you even book that viewing in the diary.

The following need to be asked in a friendly manner which is based on you being interested in the person who has contacted you to know more about the property to let. These enquiries are a two-way street – they want to know if the property is suitable for them – and you want to know if these people are suitable for your property!

  1. When are you thinking of moving? This is a critical question as they may be looking to move within the next week, but your property is not available until the end of the month. Conversely your property may be available for immediate occupation but they are not looking at moving for another 6-8 weeks. Are you really willing to hang on to an empty property that long? Getting a time frame is important so that you can see how your schedule fits with theirs.
  2. Are you currently employed/ claiming benefits? Every landlord approaches the working/ claiming benefits situation differently. However, there are some top line questions you can ask which will give you a good insight into the candidate:
      • Where are you working currently? How long have you been working for that company? Their answers will give you more detail about the person and also will give you key information which may help you sell the property better – such as identifying commuter routes/ public transport which may be useful for the candidate.
        • Are you currently claiming benefits? What are you currently entitled to? Does that include housing benefit? Understanding the benefits a candidate is entitled to will help you build a better picture of the person and their needs. If the person is not currently claiming housing benefit and this is how the rent will be paid, it is critical that you ask them to contact the council and ensure they make an application before you proceed further.

        3. Do you have any pets/ smoke. Whether you accept these depends upon your property. It may be that you have a top floor flat and while a caged hamster may be acceptable a large dog is a no-no and would invalidate your lease.  I find that because so many landlords do not allow pets that by accepting tenants with pets, my tenants tend to stay longer and look after the property more. If a tenant has a pet (especially a dog) I ask for a larger “pet deposit” in addition to the property deposit and I also add a clause in their contract that the property will have to be professionally cleaned and redecorated if necessary when they leave. I apply the same rules for smoking. Many landlords immediately say no to smoking – and I understand why. However, there is a middle ground and you would be surprised by the amount of tenants who are perfectly happy with “not smoking in the house, but you can smoke outside”. This is such a simple compromise and can work to everybody’s benefit.

      Asking these questions before you book the viewing can save you a lot of time and hassle and ensure you get the right people to the right property. – Bringing People & Property Together

      2 Comments leave one →
      1. June 1, 2010 8:48 am

        Thank you for the link to your interesting and useful post. You highlight many dangers which I am sure landlords and tenants are not aware of. With regards to your comments on enforcement – I believe regular property inspections are the only way to ensure that contractual agreements are being kept to.


      1. Fire Prevention. « Renting Flats in London

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