When you’re renting out your property in Cornwall, you want to get things right. After all, it’s your property, and you want to ensure it is going to be looked after and that the rent is going to be paid. It’s a business, and you don’t want any interruptions to occupancy.
So, to help you, our experienced team at The Accommodation Bureau have come up with eight questions that you should ask a prospective tenant before agreeing to rent your property to them.
1. When are they able to move in?
You want continuity of occupancy as it makes sense from a financial and security point of view. If one prospective tenant can’t move in for a few months, but another can, this will help you make a decision on who to let your property to. You need to be on top of your game when it comes to efficiency. If a prospective tenant can move in immediately, but you haven’t got the gas safety or electrical safety inspections done, this will cause issues.
2. Do their finances stack up?
You don’t want timewasters looking at your rental property. Respectfully ask if they are aware of the rent amount and whether they fully expect to be able to pay it on time, and on the right dates. There’s the deposit too, so make sure they know what’s expected. Your lettings agent will ensure thorough financial checks are carried out.
3. How long do they think they will want to live in the property?
This is a good question. You don’t want to be going through the process of finding a tenant every six months. Likewise, some people will be looking for long-term tenancies, so see who expects to be in a property for an extended period. The contract length could be advantageous for both parties. Be prepared to be flexible.
4. Do they have pets?
Some landlords don’t mind pets, and this may be you. However, pets are also a big no-no for some landlords. If you don’t want to accept tenants with animals, you must be sure that having a pet is not on their future agenda. Similarly, if you don’t mind pets, you need to make sure the contract stipulates what sort of pet, if any, is allowed. If you do allow a pet, your agreement should make it clear that any damages caused by the pet must be rectified by the tenant at their cost.
5. What would their current landlord say about them?
References are crucial! When you or your lettings agent speak with your prospective tenant, you hope you will get a genuine answer. References will clarify this though. Listen to your prospective tenants’ responses with a critical ear as not everyone will be honest!
6. Why are they moving?
Again, you might not always get a genuine reply, but the answer will give you an indication as to what sort of tenant they might be. This question can also be a good ice breaker and will start the conversation.
7. What sort of lifestyle do they lead?
This is a tricky question to ask, but useful nonetheless. You’ll get a feel for the sort of people your prospective tenants are. If they appear to be young, 24-hour party people, you should consider whether your property and location are right for them.
8. What other properties have they looked at in Cornwall?
This is a question that can be asked either at the start of a conversation or at the end. You’re trying to ascertain whether they are serious about moving to the area, to your property or if they are just ‘tyre kickers’. They might also say that your property is the only place for them, which is great if everything stacks up financially.
Remember, you don’t have to have a definitive list of questions and formally run through them. These questions can be wound into your regular conversation!
If you’re unsure of what to ask prospective tenants, please get in touch with us on 01208 78480. We have been offering a professional lettings and management service for many years and can guide you. After all, we are the experts in Cornwall for lettings.