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Tenant Checks – A Service No Landlord Should Ignore

by Alison Feemantle

If you are just starting out in the buy-to-let game or you’re a seasoned landlord, you need to understand the importance of carrying out background checks on potential tenants.  It’s a landlord’s market right now with more and more people choosing to rent so you don’t need to bite off the hand of the first person who shows an interest in your property.  You can afford to be a little more choosy.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) has issued a reminder to landlords to carry out checks on potential tenants before they let out a property.

This advice is being given to all landlords so they can confirm the identity of the tenant and ensure there are no reasons why rent payments would be missed.

The NLA carried out recent survey which revealed that almost three quarters of all landlords seeking possession of one of their properties suffered from rent arrears.

After carrying out a number of searches, NLA’s Tenant Check found that almost 1 in 20 tenants had more than one CCJ (County Court Judgement) against their name at a previous address during the first quarter of 2011.

Most tenant check services include a CCJ search, ID check, alias name search, history of previous addresses, together with a bankruptcy check.  A more thorough check, and this is recommended, will include employer and landlord references and an assessment of a tenant’s ability to meet rent payments.

The NLA reported a record number of tenant checks during the month of August and this included the highest number of full tenant checks in any one month.  These figures show that landlords are becoming more and more conscious of the tenants they let their properties out to.

David Salusbury, Chairman, NLA, said: “Getting a proper background check done on all tenants before they move into a property is one of the most important things a landlord can do before handing over the keys.

“It is vital landlords find out basic information about their prospective tenant to help avoid rent arrears or other problems further down the track. This gives the landlord peace of mind that their properties are in good hands and will hopefully mark the start of a satisfactory and hassle-free tenancy.”

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