No one wants to rent or lease their property to a 'bad' tenant, but during the tenant screening process, landlords might overlook some of the most obvious things that might lead to a bitter situation during the tenancy. Below are the 5 common mistakes made by estate agents and landlords during tenant screening:
1. Improper Screening:
Sure, each one of us would like to think our level of deduction as Sherlockian, based on that one time we found the missing penny that rolled away on the floor in the dark. But when it comes to tenant screening, deducing an applicant's trustworthiness by just meeting them is impossible. Even the most charming and well-mannered person might be the prodigal tenant from hell, and it is always wise to screen the applicants thoroughly—right from credit checks to their absence (or presence!) in the sex offender registry—before signing an agreement.
2. Deciding to “go solo”:
Some of us like to get the job done by ourselves; it gives us a sense of fulfilment and closure to have a hands-on approach to get things done. But when it comes to tenant screening, it is always better to have a dedicated team of professionals to make sure that the job is done meticulously, without any room for error. Tenant screening services offer you customised solutions for gathering information on applicants, thereby saving the precious time you have to otherwise spend for background checks, references, and more. Also, the software used for tenant screening ensure that no data slips under the scanner and that each and every factor that might affect the tenancy is taken into account.
3. Poor Documentation:
Preparing the right documentation is always a major hassle for landlords, who, most of the time, do not have prior experience or knowledge of legal procedures. Tenant screening services offer advice on documentation to ensure that the paperwork is perfect and no legal issues arise in the future.
4. Falling into the Discrimination Trap:
Even the most innocent of questions asked during tenant screening can be termed offensive by law. Any questions regarding ethnicity or race are a strict no, obviously! Also, the screening process needs to be uniform for all applicants and not just for those who you think might be illegal immigrants living in the UK. Tenant screening services help you navigate your way through this trap by professionally treating each applicant equally and running through and exhaustive background checks on every one of them in an impersonal manner, giving no room for discriminatory practices.
5. Neglecting Immigration rules:
The Right to Rent rules, enforced across the UK on the first of February, 2016, make it mandatory for landlords to conduct a thorough background screening of applicants before renting or leasing their property. As opposed to the civil fines previously levied, landlords found flouting this act could face fines, up to 5 years of prison time, or a combination of both. This looming threat of legal action makes the already tricky process of renting or leasing property even more complicated, as no one wants to go to prison for not properly screening their tenants.