A key part of your success as a landlord in Ireland is finding good, reliable tenants for your property. Most people looking to rent are honest, hard working individuals simply looking for a new home. Unfortunately, there are also those who will only cause you problems.
While a good tenant can never be guaranteed, there are various steps you can take to give yourself the best chance of finding one. Take the time to work through them and you’ll be rewarded with a hassle-free tenancy for everyone involved. Here is everything you need to know about finding the right tenants as a landlord in Ireland.
Offering group viewings can be tempting, especially if your property is in a high-demand area where you’ll receive lots of interest. Showing round multiple people at once means less time taken out of your day and fewer trips back and forth from the property.
However, individual viewings give you the chance to speak to each prospective tenant, ask questions and get a feel for their character. While you don’t want the viewing to feel like an interrogation, it’s an invaluable opportunity to get some basic information that will indicate whether they are a good fit. This will include standard questions like when they are looking to move and why they are looking for a new place to live.
Meeting in person can be important for finding a good tenant. However, regardless of how well you got on, there are some additional checks that should be done to help protect your investment. That’s why a proper referencing system is undoubtedly one of the best ways to ensure you have a good tenant on your hands.
It helps you to find out more about them and make sure that what they’ve told you is accurate. A good reference can give you peace of mind that they will uphold their end of the contract and treat your property like their own.
You may feel a bit uncomfortable at first asking for personal information, but anyone who has rented before will know what to expect. At a minimum, you (or a referencing company) should ask for information in the following areas:
First and foremost, you want to ensure that the tenant is who they say they are. They should provide you with a form of photo ID (either a driving licence or a passport).
Rather than going from the information given by the tenant, it’s a wise idea to Google the company yourself and get their contact information online. When you speak to the person given as a reference, you will want to double check the basic details such as their contract length and whether they are full or part-time.
Contacting a tenant’s previous landlord can be incredibly useful in gauging the suitability of a tenant. It’s good to ask how long the tenant lived at the property, why they left and if they gave the correct period of notice when they did so.
You should also ask if the landlord had any problems with the tenant. If you speak to their current landlord and they seem reluctant to answer your questions, this could be a big red flag. It may mean that they are hoping you will take them off their hands.
When speaking to a previous landlord, make sure to have them confirm the address of the rental property to make sure it corresponds with the written information the tenant gave you.
Current Utility Bill
A utility bill is a good way of confirming that the tenant lived where they said they did and will also help to verify the landlord reference. You will also be able to see if their account is in arrears, which can be a warning sign that they may struggle with the rent or bills in your property.
A recent bank statement will show you in black and white exactly what money the potential tenant has coming in and how often they receive it. If you feel that asking for a bank statement is too intrusive, you can ask for a recent payslip instead. This will still show you how much money they earn but without the additional information into their spending.
It’s worth noting here that credit checks are not commonly carried out for renting in Ireland. Though you are within your rights to ask for one, you may find that tenants are reluctant to agree as it won’t be something they’re used to.
Trust Your Gut
Though these checks can give you peace of mind that a tenant will do what is required of them, it’s still important to trust your intuition. If you feel they are being cagey about giving you certain information or something they said doesn’t quite ring true, then listen to your instincts.
Even if you can’t pinpoint exactly what it is that feels off, you are not obliged to accept everyone who applies for your property. Remember, however, that it is illegal to discriminate against potential tenants on grounds of gender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race or membership of the Traveller community.
Once you believe you’ve found a good tenant, having a thorough agreement in place is another way you can make sure everything runs smoothly. It’s your chance to nail down any specific conditions for the tenancy, for example no smoking in the property or no pets, and gives you a signed document to refer to should any problems arise.
Even when the tenancy has begun, interim checks are a great way to keep on top of things. Usually performed every quarter or once every 6 months, they involve a brief look around the property to confirm that everything is being kept up to standard. Doing this allows you to tackle any issues early on before they get out of hand.
If you do want to carry out interim checks, remember that you must give the tenants notice (at least 24 hours) and arrange a time with them for you to visit.
It can take a bit of work to find a good tenant for your property, but a problem-free tenancy and pleasant business relationship is well worth the effort. If you don’t feel confident arranging referencing yourself, or would simply like to outsource this part of the process, you can always enlist the services of a referencing or property management company. Companies like this have plenty of experience in sourcing tenants and know exactly what to ask and what to look for.
Outsourcing will not only save you time and hassle but is often also preferred by the tenant. The checks that are done require a lot of sensitive information, and some people would prefer it goes through a third-party rather than the landlord.
Here at SCK Property we offer a wide range of services that can help you navigate your time as a landlord in Ireland. Our lettings package includes interviewing and carrying out reference checks to find the best possible tenant.
If you’d like to find out more about how we can help, we’d love to hear from you. You can take a look on our home page to learn about our services, or you can get in touch with any questions via our contact page.