Warning Signs for Tenants and Landlords
The rental property game can sometimes be a minefield of warning signs, dodgy deals and bad blood between tenants and landlords. Although horror stories are few and far between compared to the overall rental property market, you should always be vigilant when making such a big investment. Here are some warning signs which can set off alarm bells.
Renting out a property to relative strangers does take a lot of trust and can strain your finances as well as your sanity if things do go wrong. It is important to be cautious when advertising for new tenants, no matter how desperately you need the money.
If a future tenant mentions an old landlord or property, note down their tone of voice and their general feelings about past ventures. If they get defensive about the subject or you notice that they are slightly aggressive, this can be an early warning sign. A bad tenant is more likely to have had multiple addresses over the past few years which are unrelated to work.
A bad tenant may also be reluctant to hand over the deposit or fill out rental agreements. Make sure that all required documents are signed by both parties before reaching a deal. Look at property sites online which provide credit checks for landlords which can assess a tenant’s suitability for your property.
On the other hand, a bad tenant who may be facing charges or eviction will be in a rush to get their new property sorted. If a new tenant seems on edge or is creating multiple stories for why he or she needs the property so quickly then this can be a red flag.
Other signs include a faint smell of alcohol, smoke, dog or chemicals as well as bringing a large group of friends with them for a viewing.
Unfortunately, the number of bad landlords can equal the numbers of bad tenants. Tenants often feel obligated to be polite and friendly in someone else’s property. However, as a tenant, you must remember that this property will be your home as much as theirs.
Ask them lots of questions early on in order to find out about the property as well as their temperament. If they become defensive this could be a warning sign that they have had problems in the past.
It is always worth having a chat with the neighbours about your new landlords about any past disputes and the general personality of a landlord. A landlord can easily put on a nice smile to strike a deal which can then change later in the year.
Go around the property to make sure that all fittings and appliances are working and properly fitted. Check for rusty old water pipes and a medieval looking boiler.
The garden is always a good sign of a decent landlord. If old cardboard and rubbish are found stored in the shed or garden furniture is broken and cheap, this may be a sign that the landlords are lazy or more likely to skip around the finer details.
Make sure that any scratch or defect in the house is properly noted by the landlords before you hand over any cash. Many landlords try to find ways of getting their hands on your deposit at the end of your stay.
Look for promptness from the beginning. If the landlord is late for a viewing or doesn’t return your phone calls, this can be a sign of things to come.
Laura Booker is a freelance copywriter and property owner from Brighton. Her passions incluse art, photography and mango sorbet.