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2019 List Of The Top Property Management Companies – A Complete Guide To Finding The Right One

2019 List Of The Top Property Management Companies – A Complete Guide To Finding The Right One

Finding the top property management companies in the UK for 2019 was no easy task. If you’re a landlord or investor looking for a reliable property manager to help you handle rental properties it can be tricky to know what you’re looking for.

There are so many different companies out there who can talk a good talk but might not necessarily deliver on their promises. A bad property management company can cost you hugely and result in dire consequences.

That’s why this list of property management has been collated.

2019 List Of The Top Property Management Companies – A Complete Guide To Finding The Right One

Studying results and working alongside The Property Management Awards, research was conducted into the following areas:

  • Online reviews from legitimate customers across a variety of different platforms
  • Company experience
  • Investment data
  • Types of property in their portfolios
  • General efficiency
  • Company location

As a result, the following companies have been selected as the top property management companies for 2019:

North East Property Investment – NEPI

NEPI are one of the leading property management companies in the North East of England. Since their launch back in 2015, they have boasted an impressive rate of maintaining high levels of occupancy. This number has consistently been excess of 95% and is supported by government-backed contracts.

While NEPI do only operate in the North east of the UK, if you own a property in their proximity, they are certainly one of the most reliable property management companies we have come across.

First Port

First Port had some of the highest numbers of individual winners and finalists at the 2018 Property Management Awards, and it’s easy to see why. With offices in Luton, Halesowen, Glasgow and London, First Port are able to offer services on a national scale.

Their ability to efficiently handle property management tasks in every corner of the UK is why they are one of the most popular companies of 2019.

Prime Property Management

While a it is important to consider a number of factors while exploring the top companies in any sector, it is hard to avoid the voice of the people. Prime Property Management certainly has that.

The property management company is currently number one on trust pilot with an outstanding number of 5-star reviews. The London based company continually leaves customers happy and satisfied with the service that they provide.

Central Housing Group

The Central Housing Group are a London based property management company that have been acquiring and managing private rented accommodation since 2000. The first thing you will notice about this company is that it is impossible to ignore the consistent positive feedback that they receive on a regular basis.

The Central Housing Group offer a guaranteed rent scheme that lasts for 5 years and they claim to be able to let you’re your property within 1 week. Both TrustPilot and Google Reviews stand testament to their ability to fulfil these promises.

City Relay

City Relay specialise in temporary rental accommodation. This London based company pride themselves on their ability to find you short-term guests to rent your property through third-party platforms such as Airbnb and Expedia.

City Relay hold an uncanny ability to provide their clients with optimised listings that quickly obtain paying guests faster than the standard approach. The service they offer allows landlords to rest assured that their property is in safe hands, continually turning them a profit.

Haus Block Management

Haus are a block management company in London dedicated to providing a great service to their clients. Despite only being founded in 2008, the company has quickly grown to handle around 220 properties.

Haus stand out for their ability to provide a fast and efficient service with strong communication. Their large and experienced team make property management look easy with a confidence that is found in few other places.

This can be seen with their great service guarantee. If after 6 months you aren’t satisfied with the work they’ve done on your behalf, you won’t be obliged to pay them a penny.

What Does a Property Management Company Do?

2019 List Of The Top Property Management Companies – A Complete Guide To Finding The Right One

A property management company is typically brought in to help run the day-to-day affairs of running a rental property. While their responsibilities might vary depending on the type of property they are managing, the following are a list of duties typically performed by your average property manager:

Screening Tenants

This is possibly one of the most important aspects of property management. One of the key indicators of a successful property manager is their ability to spot and weed out the tenants that are going to be causing you future problems. The goal of anyone renting out a property is to make money from the people living in the house. Having un-reliable or sketchy tenants is one of the biggest obstacles to achieving this goal.

An experienced property manager will have a screening process that is maintained across their company. This process will have a number of different tools at their disposal to help ensure you end up with reliable and respectable tenants that pay their rent.

Finding Tenants

The only thing worse than a property manager that supplies you with un-reliable tenants is one that can’t find you any. A core aspect of property management is the ability to regularly have paying tenants occupying the property. If they can’t do this then it doesn’t matter what else they do, you’re wasting your money.

The market sometimes goes through dry spots but, overall if you are confident in your property and its ability to attract tenants your property manager should be regularly filling it. If they aren’t, you need a new one.

Many property management companies will also have a standard policy in place that means they will additionally handle all of the tenant’s affairs, such as leases or when they are moving in and out.

Rent Responsibilities

This does again vary, but it is unusual for a property manager to not handle the responsibilities of setting, collecting and adjusting rent.  The service of handling the financial side of your investment can be a huge relief to many people and a key reason to hire a property management company in the first place.

A good company will know the ins and outs of handling the properties finance and the best ways to keep it recorded. For anyone new to doing buy-to-let or property investment this can make the whole process easier.

Property Maintenance

Anyone who has experience in letting a property knows how stressful it is when you get that dreaded phone call or text telling you something in the property has broken and needs fixing. Organising someone to go and deal with issue, is time consuming, hard work and expensive.

2019 List Of The Top Property Management Companies – A Complete Guide To Finding The Right One

Fortunately this is something a property management company handles, a company with good networks will not only get it dealt with quickly and keep your tenants happy but, will probably be able to do it cheaper than you ever could thanks to their connections.

Provides Experience and Insight

Pretty generic but, a property management company with a strong history and some good experience will be able to give you advice on things you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Knowledge of the law, budgeting and taxes are all essential parts of letting a property that you might otherwise struggle with.

‘Do I Need a Property management Company?’

2019 List Of The Top Property Management Companies – A Complete Guide To Finding The Right One

There are a number of different reasons why you either should or shouldn’t hire a property management company. Sometimes it’s definitely in a landlord or investors interest and other times it’s a terrible idea. So how can you tell the difference?

The main reason for not hiring a property management company is that they are often expensive, they can take a sizeable amount of money out of the profit you were hoping to make from renting your house. Many investors with a background or connections in the real estate market might opt to avoid hiring a property manager because they feel they are an unnecessary expense.

If you’re a do it yourself kind of person who doesn’t quite trust a company handling your affairs then you might not need one either. Just be prepared to invest a lot of time into learning the trade because this is no easy take and while there are plenty of different ways to approach managing your own property rental, a minor mistake can be fatal.

On the other hand, there are a whole host of reasons to get behind a property management company. If any of the following apply to you, it is definitely worth considering the financial sacrifice to keep your investment secure:

If the Property You Are Renting Out Isn’t Close to Your Home

Anybody with experience in renting out property will tell you the importance of keeping a close eye on your property. Many investors will specifically look for houses that are within a close proximity to either where they work or live.

If something goes wrong or needs overseeing, it is essential that you are on hand to ensure everything goes smoothly. Sometimes, however, it isn’t always possible to be close to your property and when that happens it’s probably going to be your advantage to hire a property manager. Having someone with experience nearby to handle any issues that might come up is handy and might just save you a long drive across the country to solve a minor problem.

If You Have No Time or Other Priorities

If you are incredibly busy or simply see renting a house as more of a side project, then it is probably a good idea to hire a property manager. You’d be amazed at some of the mole hills that can be turned into mountains by tenants, if your property isn’t a priority then you aren’t going to want to waste your valuable time dealing with minor issues.

Perhaps property investment is just another way of you diversifying an already existing investment portfolio. If that’s the case, then you should certainly think about hiring a property manager.

You Aren’t Good with Finances

If you’re not good with figures, you struggle to pay bills on time or are a little bit unorganised you should definitely get a property manager. If you miss the wrong payment you could leave your tenants without essentials such as hot water or even land yourself a huge fine.

If You Don’t Have Much Experience

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of guides online showing you how to run a buy-to-let scheme. These aren’t bad but are typically very generic. If you don’t have much experience in renting out a property there are a number of mistakes you’re guaranteed to make.

If renting out properties is something you plan to do regularly in the future, this might not be an awful idea. You might make mistakes, but you’ll learn from them and develop a number of skills. On the other hand, these mistakes can be costly, if learning the skills of property management isn’t something you want to learn at the cost of your potential profit the best choice is to hire someone else.

Even if you do want to learn, it can sometimes work well to hire a property manager but request that they keep you in the loop with everything that is going on. If you keep a close eye on the decisions they make and why, it can help prepare you for when you start to do the process on your own.

For those who are still confident that learning the trade themselves is the right decision, keep reading, we have some trade secrets to help you get started and help you learn how to do property management successfully for yourself.

You Have Been Struggling to Find Tenants

Perhaps you held a vacant property for a few months now and you’re starting to worry. Maybe you haven’t even bought the house yet, but you’re worried about your ability to find tenants. Whatever your situation, one of the crowning skills of property manager is the ability to find tenants that pay you regularly and on time.

Property Manager will often have accounting departments and other extra resources that can ensure everything is paid on time and efficiently, meaning happier tenants who are less likely to leave.

Your People Skills Aren’t Great

This might seem like a really small problem, but it can definitely be a big underlying factor as to whether you can attract/keep tenants. We’ve all heard those ‘nightmare’ landlord stories from friends, family or in online articles.

While you might consider yourself a long way off from ever being one of ‘those types of landlord’, if you lack people skills it can have some consequential impacts. For example if something goes wrong with your home, but you are unable to effectively communicate the solution and time frame to your tenants, things are likely to escalate.

There will probably be situations at some point where you are required to diagnose and de-escalate conflict. This is a skill in itself and the majority of property managers will have honed and developed these skills with years of experience.

Having a good working relationship with your tenants is important and while it might not be essential it can definitely help save you from sticky situations in the long run.

You Don’t Know Much About Property Maintenance

A small mistake like calling out the wrong person for the wrong job can be incredibly costly. Also knowing when you can do a job yourself and when you should get a professional on board can be a game changer.

While many property management companies will have a ‘handy man’ who can handle a number of jobs really cheaply, it is still worth it knowing that you won’t ever be overpaying.

Contractors are able to smell inexperienced personnel a mile away and rinse them for everything they’ve got.

You Don’t Like Getting 2am Phone Calls

Sounds farfetched? Speak to anybody who has been a landlord or property manager and they will be quick to tell you some of their craziest stories. Without some extremely good fortune on your side, probability suggests that at some point you will get that dreaded phone call in the early hours of the morning.

You might even be unlucky enough to get a tenant who regularly calls in the early hours. There are all kinds of reasons, from a burst water pipe to a fire, or even on occasion a drunk tenant who has accidentally locked himself out of the house.

The underlying point is that, you can never predict what is going to happen. You should always be prepared for anything, especially some crazy, straight-out of a film, kind of situation.

Many people who have been working in the housing industry for a long time will claim that even having a bad property manager to act as a buffer between these situations is better than having to deal with it yourself. While this might not be completely accurate, there is certainly something to be said about having someone to handle all of the dirty work for you, even if it does cost 10%.

Top Strategies for Finding the Right Property Management Company:

2019 List Of The Top Property Management Companies – A Complete Guide To Finding The Right One

If you decide that hiring a property manager is the right decision there is still a final decision to make, which one is going to be best for you?

Yes while the list at the top of the article are some our favourites, that doesn’t mean you have to go with one of them. Every property management company is different, and you should pick one based on your own personal preferences.

The first step to picking the right one is to draft up a list of potential candidates. Your decision will be trusting someone with your investment, there is a lot at stake so it’s good to do as much research as possible.

Here are some of the different strategies you can use to help find potential property management companies and settle on the right one.

Get Referrals from Different Sources

Ask different people that you trust for any property managers that they might have experience with. Friends and family are often very straightforward and honest with their feedback which can allow you to make more of an informed decision.
Additionally, you can also talk to estate agents or other property experts in related fields on who they would be most likely to trust managing one of their own buildings.

Find out from them not just the good things, but the bad as well. If there were problems, what were they and how were they resolved?

Sometimes even these personal referrals can be biased, so that’s why it’s always best to not just ask a variety of different people but to compare what you find out with other sources. A quick Google Search takes seconds and can confirm what you’ve already been told.

Get Online for Property Manager Reviews

People love to complain and thanks to the internet whenever someone has something to moan about we can find it. If you’ve found a company that possibly looks to good to be true, comparing their online reviews across a multitude of websites can often be eye opening.

Not all of these reviews will be truthful, so be careful to take everything on with a pinch of salt, but if there is a reoccurring theme of some poor practice people are complaining about online, it might be worth investigating. Websites like Trust Pilot, Google Reviews and Yelp are all useful resources. The Better Business Bureau is also a good place to check out a company’s reputation as it allows you to not only see their rating, but if any official complaints have been filed against them.

Check Where They Are Based

For the same reasons why you wouldn’t want to manage your own property if you live a journey away form it, don’t hire a property management company to look after your house in Newcastle if they are based in London.

It doesn’t matter how committed they tell you they are, how many good reviews they have or if they manage other properties in that area. The further away a property is from the manager, the less of a priority it will become overtime, even for the sincere and best property managers. It’s just natural, long journeys to sort out problems are de-motivating and so much more tedious to deal with than a property in the same city.

Visit Their Current Properties

Anyone can put up a good front, but the proof is always in the pudding. Check out some of the property manager’s current properties being advertised. Are they well put together and professionally promoted? Do the properties seem cared for?

A good indicator is always the front/ back garden. Over grown lawn, weeds or just general overgrowth can be a key indicator of neglect. If it’s just the one, then maybe there is a reason for it, perhaps the gardener has been scheduled but there has been a delay etc.

Make sure to visit more than just one and check to see if there is a re-occurring theme.

Talk to Tenants

Nobody is going to give you a better idea of how well a property management company is performing than tenants currently living in one of their properties. If you really want to know whether you should pick a property management company talking to people living in one of the homes they are managing is a must.

You should aim to find out the following:

  • Are they planning on signing a new lease? If not, why not?
  • Do they fell well looked after?
  • How quickly after they raise an issue does it normally take to be dealt with?
  • Are they happy with the property?
  • Is everything clean and well maintained?

Check Out Different Property Management Companies

Even if all of the above looks good you should always check out more than one property management company. Every company has its different perks that can be specifically beneficial to particular landlords or investors.

Always Meet in Person

It can be tempting to just select a property manager quickly, over the phone or online. Do not do this. Ever. It is absolutely crucial that you meet with any property manager that you are considering hiring face-to-face.

Getting the judge of their character is important, you also get to feel the vibe in their office. Is it busy? If not why not? Does it looked comfortable and well looked after? If they can’t even look after their office how do you expect them to look after your house?

Talking face to face also gives you the chance to ask some very important questions. Just like you would question tenants before letting them rent your property, any property manager you are considering should be thoroughly screened.

The following section will look at some of the most important questions you should be asking.

Interview Questions to Ask Your Property Manager

Ask as many questions as possible, there isn’t really a wrong question that you can you’re your aim is to find out as much information you can about them and how they work. Below are some of the questions we deemed to be the most important:

  • How long have you been doing property management?
  • What other properties are you currently managing?
  • How long have you been living/working in *said* area?
  • How many properties is there currently per manager?
  • What type of property do you specialise in?
  • Ask about standard routine for boiler failure, difficult tenants etc.
  • How do you screen for tenants?
  • Ask for references
  • What services do you supply?
  • What services don’t you supply?
  • How are they going to advertise your property?

Even once they have answered all your questions don’t take their word for it. Double check everything they have said and make sure they were telling the truth.

Then repeat the process with a few different property managers. After your third or fourth conversation you should start to get a feel for what you should be looking for. Some companies will offer you things that others won’t, and you can use this as part of your next set as questions.

Just make sure that you always check their license and certification. While this typically isn’t a big issue with larger companies, smaller parties can sometimes be running a bit of a dodgy operation. It can be a bit awkward asking someone to prove that they have the legal accreditations they claim to have, but it’s definitely worth it. The last thing you ever want is to be paying somebody unqualified to be looking after your property.

How to Check a UK Property Management Agreement

2019 List Of The Top Property Management Companies – A Complete Guide To Finding The Right One

Even if you are satisfied with all the above research and believe you have finally settled on the ideal property manager, it is still a good idea to double check the contract you are signing. If you are new to the business and they know that, while it is unlikely, there are still a few property managers out there that give the others a bad name with hidden fees.

All of this might seem like a lot of work, but checking your contract is an essential part of the process. If they can’t provide you with a written contract, then you should run as fast as you can in the other direction.

Below are some of the different things you should be expecting to see in your property management agreement.

Property Management Fees UK

The property management fees and expenses should be very clearly laid out in your contract. While every property manager operates differently, the prices should be very similar to those of other companies operating in the same area.

This section should ultimately give you a strong idea of what services they will be providing and how much they will be charging you for it. The most common charge you should expect to see is a ‘management fee’ that typically covers the majority of the services you will need as a landlord. While prices can vary between anything from 10-20% of your monthly rental income, the cheapest property manager is always the strongest option.

Companies that charge less on the general management of a property might be charging more for ‘additional services’.

Make sure that the charges for every situation/service are clearly laid out and you understand if it will be a flat rate, a percentage fee or if it will be decided after the job is done. While it might sound reasonable to have a charge be given following the service, because every situation is different, this can be a dangerous place to put yourself in.

If you can negotiate a flat or percentage rate, it is definitely a safer option.

Finally, make sure you are aware of any services that the property manager doesn’t include in the contract. Many will tell you with specific reference to your contract if you ask, but this is why when you interview the different management companies you find out their list of included services. One company might tell you that they don’t include remodelling or the refinancing or a property in their services, this can give you the opportunity to ask the next property manager “do you include remodelling in your service contract?”.

Landlord Responsibilities

The next important part of the contract is whether your responsibilities as a landlord are clearly laid out. Typically, a landlord is responsible for making repairs to the exterior and interior of a property. They should also be making sure that the equipment for supplying water, gas and electricity is in safe and fully working order.

However, you are obviously hiring a property manager to handle these things. Just make sure that they are included in the contract and that you are not expected to be doing any of these things yourself. While this is highly unlikely, it is always worth double checking.

More realistically, a landlord or property owner only has three major responsibilities listed in the contract:

  • Setting up and maintaining a reserve fund.
  • Purchasing the correct insurance policies.
  • Ensure they don’t break any of the restrictions

All three of these are fairly self-explanatory. Keep some savings in case you have to pay a big fee in an emergency, get the right landlord insurance and read up on what you shouldn’t be doing.

The list of things you shouldn’t be doing will normally be:

  • Don’t enter the property without permission from the property management company and the tenants.
  • Don’t supply your own tenants. This can add to complications and can even break terms set out in your contract.

Check the Tenants Agreement

This is not a necessity, but if you are still worried this might help to put your mind at ease. Some tenants can make some very unintelligent decisions and assumptions. While dealing with these decisions is not your responsibility as a landlord with a property manager, the simplicity of the contract and how easy it is to understand will speak volumes on your managers experience. It is also never a bad idea to have a good understanding of the experience you tenants will have while staying in your property.

Lettings Agents

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In the UK many Lettings Agents will take on similar roles to property managers. There has also been a recent increase in online lettings agents who provide numerous services. This similarity can often confuse people.

While neither is better than the other, the advantage of a property manager is that many will have very similar policies to each other. As a result they will require less research and fine combing. In comparison, the role of a letting’s agent can vary dramatically. A lettings agent company can often only provide half the services of a property manager, leaving you having to hire or think about other alternatives to filling in the gaps.

Comparing lettings agents can also become tricky due to their huge variations in company services and expectations. This difference in how they handle properties can make them difficult to compare to one another.

How to End a Contract with a Property Manager

2019 List Of The Top Property Management Companies – A Complete Guide To Finding The Right One

Even with some of the best property managers there comes a point when you decide it is best for you both to part ways. Perhaps, you’ve even come to the decision that you want to focus more of your own time on your property and now no longer need the services of a manager.

Whatever the reason, there are definitely some things you should know about terminating your contract with a property manager. The first thing you should do is to check your agreement for terms of cancellation.

Is there a fee for early cancellation? Do you need a reason to terminate the contract? Will you lose any deposits you might have given them? Is there a certain amount of notice that you need to provide? These are all questions you should be asking.

If, however, you are terminating the contract because your manager has breached the terms set out in the contract, no matter the circumstances, it is a good idea to collect as much proof as possible. Photocopy and screenshot everything from documents to emails and place it all in a clearly labelled folder. You should, if possible, try to do everything with hand written letters when it comes to the termination of the contract. An email is definitely not the best way as the postal service will be able to provide evidence that the company received the termination.

If there hasn’t been a breach of contract then most agreements will have a period of notice, this can range between 30 to 90 days. While you may feel that 90 days is too long, take advantage of the time you’ve been given to take over all the responsibilities.

Make sure you are fully clued in and up-to-date with everything that has been going on. Spend time preparing and planning how you are going to fulfil your role as a full-time landlord and self-employed property manager. If they have any important documents make sure you get them prior to the period-of-notice ending. Once the contract officially reaches its end it can sometimes be very difficult to get them back.

If there are costs involved you should make sure to check the amounts and the dates by which they need to be made.

Finally, make sure that the whole process is conducted as professionally as possible. If you have built a relationship with your property manager prior to the contract termination, whether good or bad, it is best for everyone to leave it in the past throughout the process.

Do It Yourself: Secrets to Property Management Success

2019 List Of The Top Property Management Companies – A Complete Guide To Finding The Right One

If after reading everything you have decided to go it alone then there are somethings you should know. The following is a collation of ticks and trips from some experienced property managers that might just help you save on a property managers fee.

Get to Know Your Property

It is important that you have a good understanding of how your property functions, what potential issues it might have, what is new and any existing damages. If you are renting out a property that you purchased recently it might be worth living in it for a short period. This way you will be able to tell if a tenant is being truthful when they come to you with a problem. It can also prepare you financially for any potential repairs you might need to make.

For example, if a tenant complains that the shower has worn out, but you know that it was only recently installed and worked fine for you, you can investigate and potentially catch them out if they’ve been lying. Alternatively, if they you know the shower was old and a little bit worse for wear, you will have been able to prepare and arrange for a new one to be installed in advance.

A good way to keep on top of this is to take lots of pictures and notes regarding the different aspects of the building prior to renting it out. This will not only help to remind you but can serve as evidence if needed.

Another advantage of getting familiar with the property is that you can provide tenants and potential tenants with useful information about the surrounding area. Everything from the nearest shops to parks and recreational buildings. You should, however, avoid discussing things like crime rates and school ratings.

Always be Available and Respectful

‘Look after your tenants and they’ll look after you’ – A very cliché and cheesy saying, but once you’ve been in the property management business a while you’ll realise it rings true.

You may have previously read a section earlier on in the article that looked at 2am phone calls. You may hate the idea, but if you are going to be a successful landlord it is essential that you are available at all times. Tenants are more likely to leave or become difficult if they feel ignored or that their home is being neglected.

While it can be difficult to motivate naturally messy or unclean tenants to take care of a property, the best thing you can do is to take pride in it yourself, as if you were living in it as well. When people see that you take pride in the house, they will automatically treat it with a similar amount of respect.

On the other hand, if it seems like you don’t care particularly about the state of the property, it is likely that your tenants will take a similar attitude. If that ever happens it is very difficult to reverse the situation without some serious home improvements.

When tenants feel they can rely on you for things and that your communication with them is clear and efficient, they are much more likely to treat both you and your property with respect. No matter how tempting it is to tell them to ‘leave me alone, I’m sleeping’ when they ask for help at 4am, it is in everyone best interests to put in the extra effort.

Plan, Prepare and Organise 24/7

Following on from the above point, as a landlord you should be prepared for anything and everything. It might never happen, but crazy things can and do happen, so you should have both emergency funds and personnel on hand just in case.

Small and simple tasks, like organising regular inspections to the property, having a handyman ready for call-outs at all times of the day and keeping up to date with your tenants’ lives can have a big impact.

This doesn’t mean you should be taking your tenants out for lunch every week. It means that you should be aware of their working situations, by having a good professional relationship with your tenants it will make it easier to solve any problems that might arise. For example if they get made redundant and ask for some extra time to pay the following months rent, you may be willing to consider if up until that point you are aware they have always been prompt and on time with payments.

Look up some landlord horror stories online and ask yourself, ‘Am I prepared for this if it happened to me?’

Whatever you end up dealing with, one of the best things you can do is keep a track of all your expenses, learning to keep all of your receipts is a valuable skill.

Become Familiar with how Experienced Property Mangers Screen for Tenants

There are a lot of different things that experienced property mangers will do to screen for tenants and if they were all to be listed here you would be reading forever. The best thing to do is simply ask an experienced property management company, send a quick email and ask what their process is for screening tenants. Many will be happy to help.

To help you get started here are a few qualities to look for and things to avoid when screening a potential tenant:

Avoid:
  • Tenants who have previously been evicted.

There might be a perfectly reasonable explanation, but it probably isn’t worth the risk. If there is an issue, many landlords will simply ask their tenants politely to leave with a few weeks’ notice. In other cases they might just not re-new the lease. It is very rare that an eviction isn’t at least partially the fault of the tenant and for that reason many professionals will avoid tenants with a previous eviction on their record.

  • Tenants with long gaps in employment history

Again, this can sometimes have a perfectly good explanation, but isn’t worth the risk. This can typically speak volumes about the tenant, it shows that they have difficulty holding down a normal job, something that can pose an issue to your need as a landlord for regular rent payments.

  • When the rent is over 30-40% of the tenant’s income amount

While exceptions can be made to this rule if you feel like the tenant has a good case, it is generally a safe bet not to accept these types of potential tenants. Young single professionals with very few other financial commitments might be able to reasonably budget, but the majority of other types of tenants will be unable to pay their rent if a surprise bill comes in. They might make all kinds of promises, but don’t give in, it isn’t worth the risk for either you or them.

  • Tenants with missing living history or references

If someone can’t provide evidence of where they were living for a long period or their references seem suspicious, they might just be covering something up.

The Screening Process
  • Ask them to complete a formal application.

This is the first part of documentation that is important to finding out important information regarding your potential tenants. You can find a number of useful templates or sample tenancy application forms online, here is one from Landlord Zone.

  • Run a Credit Check and background.

There are a number of different ways to run a check on your applicants’ financial history and potential risks. One of the most popular ways to do this is through a third party like Tenant Verify or Experian. Companies offer a range of different services that allow a range of different in-depth checks for landlords to efficiently screen tenants. If you want to be really thorough then these companies also offer background checks that can look for things such as previous evictions and criminal records.

  • Contact Previous Landlords

If the tenant has been a nightmare for a previous landlord or property owner, then they will be quick to let you know about it. This is possibly one of the simplest and cheapest ways to get a good idea of whether you are happy to have this person living in your house.

  • Interview the Tenant

There are a number of different questions you could pose to an applicant that can help you find out if it is worth taking them seriously. If you have a handful of different potential candidates and have to decide which one to take on, just like a job interview, this can be one of the best ways of finding the best candidates.

Here are some questions you might want to consider asking your potential tenants as part of the interview process:

  • Why are you looking for a new place to live?
  • What kind of work do you do? Do you work normal hours or night shifts?
  • Do you have any pets or children?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Does your current landlord know you are looking to rent elsewhere?
  • Do you plan on having anyone else stay with you while you’re living here?

Property Management for Airbnb

The rise in popularity surrounding temporary accommodation companies such as Airbnb means that a number of landlords currently rent out several of these properties at a time. If you have a property in a popular tourist area then you can potentially make more money this way then if you had regular tenants paying monthly rent.

The only issues is that this type of property letting is a lot more time consuming than traditional leasing. Having a large number of different people coming in-and-out of your property on a regular basis leaves it open to more wear and tear. It also makes it harder for you to screen for tenants as everything is done online.

Renting your property out on companies like Airbnb can also land you a lot of trouble with your mortgage lender. It can breach the terms and conditions, leaving you deep in penalties that range from higher interest rates to having the entire loan being called in.

On the upside Airbnb do promise to protect its hosts for up to £750,000 worth of damages, but there are still lots of legalities that you will need to take care of.

The amount of time commitment, knowledge of legalities and general oversight that letting an Airbnb property means that many investors and landlords opt to hire a property manager. If you are planning on renting out multiple houses, then the percentage you have to pay is well worth it due to the higher returns you can get in comparison to traditional buy-to-let portfolios.

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Poppy
About author

Poppy loves personal finance almost as much as she loves her two cats, Tif and Taz.
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