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15 questions every landlord should ask prospective tenants

Vanessa Warwick Offline Mute
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25-04-2013,08:00 AM
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15 questions every landlord should ask prospective tenants

This post was inspired by this article, but I have adapted it slightly based on my own experiences.

1. Why Are You Moving?

>>> Look for legitimate answers such as starting new job or landlord is selling up. Not people who have fallen out with housemates etc.

2. When Do You Plan on Moving-In?

>>> Be suspicious if they want to move in straight away. Ensure they have a legitimate reason.

3. What Is Your Monthly Income?

>>> You need to know that they can afford the rent.

Rent affordability calculation

4. Will You Have the Security Deposit and First Month’s Rent Available Upon Move- In?

>>> If not, they are wasting your time.

5. Will it be okay for me to come and visit you in your current property?

>>>This gives an idea of how they might treat your property.

6. Can You Provide References From Your Employer and Former Landlord?

>>> If they can't, then that might be a red flag.

7. Are you employed or on a contract or in any kind of probation period?

>>> You want a tenant in stable employment. People in probation can lose their job after 3 months if they don't fit in.

8. Do you have any on-line profiles I could check out?

>>>> Vetting tenants by social media might throw up some insights into their lifestyle and also confirm their employment (via LinkedIn etc).

9. Have you ever been evicted?

>>> They may not admit to this, but you can judge their reaction to the question.

10. Do You Have Any Pets?

>>> You will need to make a decision whether to take the pet or not. This can be based on No. 5

11. How would you describe your lifestyle?

Do you work shift patterns, stay up late at night, play a loud musical instrument?

Answers to these questions will help you ensure that the property is suited to the tenant.

12. Can I have a copy of your passport?

>>> Important to check their identity.

13. Do you have a rental guarantor?

>>> Always helpful to have.

14. Are you planning on staying long term?

>>> Find out if they are planning on putting down some roots.

15. Do you have any questions?

>>> Encourage good communication from day 1.

Does that cover it, or is there anything else you would ask?

[Image: house.png]Related topics to ensure you never get a bad tenant:

Tenant referencing sites

Ultimate guide to vetting a tenant

New landlord with tenant referencing questions

Top 10 most deadly landlord pitfalls ... and how to avoid them.

Couples and families = top tenants

Tenant vetting - how does a private landlord do this?

Due diligence for landlords - a comprehensive guide
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john_corey Offline Mute
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25-04-2013,11:05 AM
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RE: 15 questions every landlord should ask prospective tenants

Vanessa,

I like the idea of consistently asking all applicants the same set of questions. You want to be able to demonstrate there is no illegal bias to the selection process. You also will find out if the tenant is suitable to the property.

On point #7, there is a bit of a mistake. The UK does not recognize probation in the way you have stated. A change to UK employment law has eliminated the probationary period as it used to be understood. At the present time, an employee with less than 2 years can be dismissed without cause. In some ways you could say they are on probation for 2 years though the term probation gives the wrong impression.
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Vanessa Warwick Offline Mute
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25-04-2013,11:18 AM
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RE: 15 questions every landlord should ask prospective tenants

Hi John,

Thanks for clarification about probation. Strangely, a prospective tenant only said to me last week that he was on 3 months probation!!

Yes, it is good to say "I ask all prospective tenants this set of questions" so that they do not feel that they are being discriminated against in any way.

I find certain of those questions provoke a response from the tenant that is a form of self-selection away from the property.

I once asked a lady to see her Passport and she got very angry ... and stormed off! It told me all I needed to know.
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Vanessa Warwick Offline Mute
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30-04-2013,09:36 AM
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RE: 15 questions every landlord should ask prospective tenants

According to this blog from Nearly Legal (via Pimlico Flats), we may soon be having to ask our tenants for proof of their immigration status.

Excerpt from David Cameron speech:

Now, finally, as the Deputy Prime Minister set out on Friday, we’re going to radically toughen up the way we deal with illegal migrants working in this country. Frankly, right now, today it is too easy to be an illegal migrant in Britain. It’s too easy to get a driving license, get a house without a check on your immigration status. So we are legislating to make sure illegal migrants can’t have driving licenses. I’ve already said how we’re changing the rules on social housing. I now want us to make sure that private landlords check their tenants’ immigration status with consequences for those rogue landlords who fail to do so.

I am not sure if this applies to RSL's or regular landlords and I would not know how to check a tenant's immigration status anyway. Any ideas on this one?
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dsns Offline Mute
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30-04-2013,09:43 AM
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RE: 15 questions every landlord should ask prospective tenants

It is an aim of the government to make all private landlords check the immigration status of tenants. In fact, letting gents are actually supposed to do this already, but few are aware of that requirement. You can check this by asking to see a tenant's passport or ID documents. Their passport will be stamped (if they are not an EU citizen) with their permitted time to remain in the UK and their work permission. If they are an asylum seeker they will have a driving licence or passport like ID card issued by the home office.
What you are actually supposed to do with this information is another matter! There is nothing unlawful about letting a house to an illegal immigrant...yet
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paul_barrett Offline Mute
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30-04-2013,10:19 AM
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RE: 15 questions every landlord should ask prospective tenants

(30-04-2013 09:43 AM)dsns Wrote:  It is an aim of the government to make all private landlords check the immigration status of tenants. In fact, letting gents are actually supposed to do this already, but few are aware of that requirement. You can check this by asking to see a tenant's passport or ID documents. Their passport will be stamped (if they are not an EU citizen) with their permitted time to remain in the UK and their work permission. If they are an asylum seeker they will have a driving licence or passport like ID card issued by the home office.
What you are actually supposed to do with this information is another matter! There is nothing unlawful about letting a house to an illegal immigrant...yet

How are we as LL supposed to know what ID should look like or what a genuine passport should look like!!?
Surely any legal visitor to the UK will be registered and LL should be able to check with the whoever that they have a legal status to remain.
How and where are we supposed to do all this.
Can Dave tell us!!!??
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john_corey Offline Mute
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30-04-2013,04:51 PM
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RE: 15 questions every landlord should ask prospective tenants

David's post makes me laugh.

We are supposed to check the status of the person yet it is not illegal to rent to an illegal immigrant. In other words, show me the document and you can have the place no matter what the document says. Just show it to me so I can say you supplied me with a document that stated your status.
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Vanessa Warwick Offline Mute
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08-05-2013,08:00 AM
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RE: 15 questions every landlord should ask prospective tenants

Update:

New laws dictate that it is now illlegal to let to "illegal" immigrants.

Private landlords are now expected to check the immigration status of prospective tenants.

This means looking at their passport to check that it is stamped and that they have an appropriate visa.

This new law is particularly aimed a "multi let" and HMO properties, although all landlords must comply, and it is claimed that there will be heavy fines for those that don't!
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john_corey Offline Mute
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08-05-2013,08:55 AM
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RE: 15 questions every landlord should ask prospective tenants

Landlords will need to be trained to spot fraudulent documents, stamps and other details. We also will need to know what passports from various countries look like if they are officially issued.

A generally bad idea for a law. A dumb response to people being concerned about illegals. If the Home Office can not stop them from entering why should private citizens become a shadow police force?
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Adam Hosker Offline Mute
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08-05-2013,12:17 PM
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RE: 15 questions every landlord should ask prospective tenants

The more regulation, the further the need for Letting Agents with due process to help ensure you don't get prosecuted.

Whilst i oppose regulation, I like the idea that illegal immigrants will be prevented from avoiding the system. If their forced to live on the street due to Landlords due process than the proposition does not look as rosey. Perhaps and hopefully boost proper regulated integrations.
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