How to Vet Your Potential Tenants

Posted on: March 5th, 2012 by Henno Kruger 4 Comments

There are many people out there on the hunt for a new place to rent, buy or share. As a landlord there are many things you need to know before you hand over your keys to the new stranger that will be living in your bachelor pad, house or flat.

Today the Junk Mail team is here to assist all our property owners to make sure that they vet their tenants before the late payments and legal battles ensue. Many of the property owners using Junk Mail to freely advertise your rental properties may have not had any problems with renters in the past. It makes sense to know what you need to look out for when your loyal tenant eventually moves out.

When renting out a property and looking for a new tenant, one should:

  • Ask a potential applicant questions about previous court convictions (if any) and if he/she has been evicted from any previous accommodation or been summoned for debt.
  • Ask for the number of the previous landlord and phone them to see whether his/ her payments where on time, whether they left the residence in a good shape, whether they would allow them to rent their place again etc. When the potential tenant gives you his/ her ex-landlords number, it is important that you verify the number. It is always a good idea to Google the number to make sure that this number  is affiliated with the property agent or person in question.
  • As a landlord you must make it your mission to try and make it very hard to find a reason for not accepting the potential tenant, they need to pass all the questions you pose as well as the credit checks.
  • Probe into every aspect of their background, dig to get the facts and accept no statements on their face value.
  • Also ask to get in touch with the potential tenant’s employer, so that if they do not make payment you can hassle them at work.
  • Note that many prospective tenants arrive at the landlord or agent’s offices with credit records that are nearly impeccable at face value, but when getting hold of their previous landlord it may well become apparent that they have been problem payers. The majority of landlords very seldom take legal action. Some tenants ensure that their commercial credit records are clean while letting rental arrears accrue month after month. Check this out not just with their last landlord but with all those from whom they have rented over the last four or five years.
  • Also note that these days it’s acceptable to ask potential tenants very personal questions. The potential tenant must, for example, be asked for written proof of income and bank statements for the last three or four months. He/she must also list all his expenses including his credit card debt. The investigator should also keep in mind that some people have two or three credit cards. Anyone borrowing close to his maximum level should be flagged a high risk tenant. You then have the right to deny them the property to let and can start looking for a better tenant to rent your place.
  • Keep in mind that its far better to carry two or three months of non-rental returns on the property that is up for rent, than to spend month on month battling with a non-paying tenant who might have to be evicted in the end.
  • Be mindful that people’s circumstances change and that very often their characters change along with them. The loss of a job, the break up of a marriage or a partnership or the sudden incursion of death can all lead to people deciding to make their payment to the landlord / property owner the last priority on their list and then only if and when they are again in funds make a payment again. All these may pose a risk on your property investment and you need to have a contingency plan in place should this happen.
  • Note that a non-paying tenant can wreck your buy-to-rent investment’s returns and lead to a litany of other woes. A bad tenant can not only destroy your income flow but may well get you blacklisted with the Credit Bureau or with your bank because banks are now totally inflexible about bond repayments being right on time.
  • Note that its a wise idea to get your bank to agree to let you pay on the 8th or 9th of the month rather than on the month end. This gives you time to chase up your tenant at the end of the previous month.
  • Note that if a potential tenant is not prepared to be open with you and to answer ALL your questions, you should take him/her off your list of potential tenants.
  • Note that the above effort of securing a really good tenant definitely makes it worthwhile.

If you are thinking of renting your house, flat or small holding remember that you can place a Free Ad using Junk Mail. Now that you know how to vet potential tenants it shouldn’t be too long till you find a reliable tenant that make your property investment a reality.

Once you have placed your Free Property Ad  remember that you can promote this link on our regional Facebook pages to find a potential renter. The great thing about Facebook is that you can see all our fans details and work out straight off the bat where they work, if they have a pet and what some of their behavioural habits are.

We hope that this information helps all of you property owners out there to secure the best tenant for your rental property. If you have any pointers that you might be able to add to this list, please comment on this post and let the readers of the Junk Mail blog know. Feedback is appreciated and welcome.

You might also want to check out the following posts on the Junk Mail blog:

The following two tabs change content below.
Henno Kruger

Henno Kruger

Social Media Contributor and Blogger at Junk Mail Publishing.
Tags: , ,

4 Responses

  1. lidopm says:

    Really great post! As an owner one should keep above points in mind before handover his property, share or whatsoever related.Thanks for sharing such useful information.

    • Junk Mail Admin says:

      Thank you :) We are glad that you’ve found this information useful :) Feel free to share this with your friends on Facebook and Twitter :)

    • marie says:

      I was caught out with people I trusted and told me that they would pay as soon as they get their bonus. well they moved out at night and i lost about
      ri4000 rand He,s name is Hennie and works for a courier busness; The second person is willem van kerkMoeren wich moved out left the carpets so dirty ( kept his dogs in my flat- we had to get specialised people out to try and clean the whole flat an garden. I kept his deposit which is hardly anouth to get the place liveble for the next tentant.

Leave a Reply