Finding a tenant

Landlord Advice - Guiding you through the letting process

Step 6 - Finding a tenant

Couple having a pillow fight

Some people try to find a tenant without using an agent. If you are lucky enough to know of reliable tenants, that's great. If not, finding and managing tenants can be expensive, time consuming and hard work.

Rightmove member letting agents are able to advertise your property for rent on the UK's number one property website - in front of millions of potential tenants every month.

Finding a good letting agent

A letting agent will save you time by showing potential tenants around your property, which is great if you haven't got the time to handle calls, stay in for viewings and respond to emails.

Your letting agent will also:

  • Do a market appraisal to assess the rent the property will fetch
  • Find good tenants for you
  • Draw up a suitable tenancy agreement.

To find a good tenant an agent will do a thorough check of each applicant's credit status, income, employment and previous history as a tenant. They will also check each tenants ID too.

If you know other landlords ask them which Rightmove member letting agent they would recommend.

Don't just go to the agent who charges the lowest fees to find you a tenant or who claims he can get the highest rent. Instead, ask, what's included in their fees - for example, some agents will include making out an inventory, whereas others might charge extra for this.

To save time for both yourself and your agent, be clear with your agent about the type of tenant you will be happy with; are pets or smokers an issue for example?

Once they have found a suitable tenant and you've consented to the property being let - you, the tenant and the agent will agree a move-in date.

On move-in day, the agent will ensure the first month's rent and the deposit is received and they will get the tenancy agreement signed.

They may also arrange to have utility meters read, get the utilities and council tax transferred into the tenant's name, show the tenant how everything works and give them written instructions of who to contact in an emergency.

Some agents will also arrange for a thorough inventory to be carried out - describing and listing the state and condition of the property and all the fixtures and fittings within it. This should be signed by the tenant.

Don't skimp on having proper references and an inventory done. A proper set of references will ensure you don't get the tenant from hell - one who won't pay rent and who could take months to evict. A proper inventory will mean that if the property is returned in a mess or with things damaged beyond normal wear and tear, you'll be entitled to keep some or all the deposit to pay for it.

Tenancy Deposit Schemes

The most common form of tenancy agreement is the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (called Short Assured in Scotland) since this allows you to recover the property just by giving the tenant sufficient notice.

All new Assured Shorthold Tenancies in England and Wales which started on or after 6th April 2007 and where a deposit was taken, must now have the deposit protected under a government approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Your letting agent should be able to arrange this as part of their service.

Providing the property is left in the same state at the end of the tenancy as it was at the start (fair wear and tear excepted) and there are no rent arrears, you will have to return the deposit within 10 days of the end of the tenancy. If it isn't, you will have to itemise and agree deductions with the tenant.

For all the latest information on tenancy deposit schemes click here:

If the annual rental income exceeds £25,000, the tenant is a company or you live in the property, the Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement is not valid. In these cases, your local Rightmove member letting agent will be able to suggest alternatives.

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