What you need to do to keep crooks and criminals out of your rented property

Your rented property is a very valuable investment.

Most property is now worth in excess of £100,000, which is a lot of money. If you are a buy to let landlord you will probably still be paying off the mortgage.

However if you let your property to tenants, you lose control over it. In a way, it is no longer yours. Your tenants can stay as long as they like, until such time as you get a Court Order for Possession and send the bailiffs round.

Even if they are not paying rent or are trashing the property. Or using it as a cannabis farm.

So it is CRUCIAL that the person you put in control of this very valuable asset is someone to be trusted. There are so many nightmare stories around (we will have an article on some of them later in this series).

References and credit checks

I read with amazement some time ago that a substantial proportion of landlords never check their tenants at all! (I have lost the reference but I can remember reading it very clearly).

This is madness! However good a judge of character you are – you cannot always spot the bad apples. Successful con men are very persuasive. That is why they are successful!

So please, please, make sure that at the very least you:
•Take references and follow them up
•Check their ID
•Double check all information provided to you (is that phone number their employer or their mate?), and
•Pay for credit referencing – for example with Tenant Verify or Tenant Referencing – which will pick up any CCJs and credit issues.

Check your letting agents

If you use letting agents – make sure that they are doing this too – properly.

When I did eviction work, I acted for many landlords who had found out to their horror that only minimal checks had been done by their agents.

Over the course of this month we will be running several posts on various aspects of checking and referencing tenants. Watch out for them!