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Private Landlords: before you accept a new tenant check out these red flags

June 12th 2020

8 Warning Signs when assessing Tenant Applications

1. Needing to move in a hurry. There can be valid reasons why a tenant may have to move quickly, but this is a red flag to be aware of. Are they facing eviction, unable to pay their current rent, or has there been a breakdown in the flatmate relationship? 

2. Missing information. Make sure all portions of the application form are completed. References are crucial, as is previous renting information. When you speak to previous landlords check the time periods at previous homes matches what the tenant has advised. 

3. Not enough income to cover rent and living costs. While you don’t need to see a bank statement, it should be clear on the application form that the tenant can cover the rent and living expenses without difficulty. Sometimes tenants forget to add other income, such as family tax credits, so ask again if the income seems too light. 

4. Frequent change of address? This could mean the tenant often breaks their lease, is unable to pay rent, or they are getting moved on due to other tenancy problems. 

5. Look out for anti-social or other behavioural problems. An applicant who is rude and disrespectful when first meeting you or viewing a home, isn’t going to make a great tenant. It’s important to have tenants you are confident will communicate well with you, and comply with essential tenancy obligations. 

6. Asking that other tenants don’t have to complete an application form, or be listed on the agreement. This could mean previous evictions, criminal history or benefit fraud. All tenants over 18 years old should pass the full application process, and be named on the tenancy agreement. 

7. Look for gaps in employment history. There can be valid reasons such as new migrants, redundancy, or planned parental leave. Ask for a bit more information if you are unsure. 

8. Credit history - lots of small defaults can mean someone who just doesn’t manage their money well. If the defaults were a few years ago, and the pattern has changed that may be fine, but credit history can tell you a lot about financial behaviour.