New landlords often flirt with the idea of ditching traditional tenant selection processes and taking a DIY approach instead. After all, there are so many ways to source tenants these days – like Gumtree or social media – why bother with anything else? Trust us, side-stepping a formal selection process may seem like it might save you time, but it can be so much costlier in the long run.
Wind up with a bad tenant and you can expect:
- Sleepless nights.
- Sky-high legal bills.
- Lost income.
- Property damage.
Let us explain more about the risks of skipping proper reference and credit checks.
If you use an online platform like Gumtree
The internet has made it easier for landlords to find tenants, but not easier to find good tenants. Post an ad online, and you’ll get lots of responses – but many of them will be from time-wasters and con artists, not genuine candidates. Professionals are more likely to use a traditional bricks and mortar letting agent because they’re wary of getting ripped off in an online scam.
Tenants aren’t the only ones to fall prey to online scammers; landlords can be targets, too. Online crooks often use ‘to let’ adverts as ‘phishing’ opportunities. They pose as tenants to get as much information as they can about you and your vacant property, before they get to work fleecing you.
If you let to a mate or relative after asking around on social media
You may be tempted to ask your contacts on WhatsApp or Facebook if they’re looking for a place to rent. But be warned: things can get very messy when you blur the lines between personal and professional. If things don’t work out, it could cause a major family fall-out or friendship rift.
Sometimes, when a landlord knows the tenant, they don’t bother with a contract. Please, never, ever do this. If you do get into a dispute later, your legal options will be limited. Some buy-to-let mortgages prevent landlords from renting to a family member or friend. Always check the fine print before making a decision. Insurance companies often get twitchy if the tenant is a relative. In some cases, your cover is invalidated if the tenant is a family member. In other circumstances, you won’t be covered if you haven’t conducted reference checks.
What’s the alternative?
Here at Newton Fallowell, we have a gold standard tenant selection process that offers you peace of mind and legal protection. It involves screening candidates by phone, in-person interviews, and rigorous reference, credit, and employment checks.
If you want to know more, contact us here at Newton Fallowell on 01664 566210.