I have a property to rent out and a choice of tenants – which one should I pick?

I have bought a new rental property and have had several potential tenants take a look. Three would like to take it, so I now have to pick one. 

Although the nationwide ban on evictions has been lifted, I’m still nervous about choosing the wrong tenant. 

What guidelines can I use to help make my final decision?

How to choose a tenant: Landlords are unable to reject a tenant for reasons such as disability

How to choose a tenant: Landlords are unable to reject a tenant for reasons such as disability

How to choose a tenant: Landlords are unable to reject a tenant for reasons such as disability

MailOnline Property expert Myra Butterworth replies: There are a host of reasons why you may or may not choose a tenant. 

But to start with, but there are laws that prevent you from rejecting a potential tenant on a specific basis.

For example, you can’t discriminate against a tenant due so-called ‘protected characteristics’ which include age, gender, sex and disability. 

However, landlords may – understandably – want to reject a tenant on a different basis. 

For example, if a tenant is unable to move in for six weeks, then you may want to choose someone who can start the tenancy within a week to help minimise any void periods without a rental income. 

The ban on evictions has been lifted, which means landlords can start court proceedings

The ban on evictions has been lifted, which means landlords can start court proceedings

The ban on evictions has been lifted, which means landlords can start court proceedings

Eviction ban lifted 

The ban on evictions has now been lifted, which means that landlords can legally start court proceedings to evict a tenant.  

However, in a year that has seen a ban on evictions extended not once but twice, it is more important than ever to carefully consider which tenant is appropriate for your circumstances – and to make the right decision.

This is because if you get it wrong, it may have bigger consequences due to the new rules concerning being able to repossession your property.

These were brought in as a result of the pandemic. 

The eviction ban was lifted on 20 September, but the Government has warned that no evictions can take place around Christmas and that new local eviction bans may be introduced further down the line.

Landlords must also show how coronavirus has affected a tenant’s situation if the case does go to court – and a judge can delay proceedings if this information is not provided. 

The key for most landlords is finding a reliable tenant who pays their rent on time and works for your situation, such as having a tenant move in on a particular date. 

Discuss your options with your letting agent as they will be able to help match you to the right tenant and ensure that certain checks – such as references – are carried out.

Timothy Douglas, policy and campaigns manager for ARLA Propertymark, said: ‘Landlords take a risk-based approach when letting out their properties and different tenants, bring different considerations.

‘However, ultimately most landlords prioritise finding a long-term, reliable tenant who will pay rent on time and can move in on specific dates so as to avoid void periods.

‘Every tenant has a different set of circumstances, so landlords tend to seek those that they feel will look after their property best.’

‘Often this process is carried out by a letting agent who is contractually obliged to find the best possible tenant for their clients and must not discriminate on grounds of any protected characteristics.

‘It is therefore important, both as a tenant and as a landlord, to use an industry expert who works to a high standard to help find the best fit for your property.’

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