Whether you’re an experienced landlord or new to the world of rental property, finding tenants is probably one of your major concerns when it comes to renting your property. Get it wrong, and you could end up with an empty building or a difficult occupant, but get it right and you can look forward to steady cash flow, dealing with great tenants and minimal pain. We’ve assembled our top tips for attracting excellent prospective tenants, just read on.

Do I need an agent to find tenants for a rental property?

It is possible to find tenants for your rental property all on your own. In a world where everyone has social media, a well-worded ad with beautifully shot photos might be all you need to market your property effectively. There are plenty of stories in the press about landlords who have done just that and saved themselves a lot of money. That said, this approach is unlikely to be the fastest or most effective way to fill your property: your reach will be limited and there’s no guarantee that you’ll attract the types of tenant that you’re looking for – or any tenants at all.

While it isn’t mandatory to engage an agent to help you find tenants, it is generally going to make your life much easier if you do. Most of the major rental websites like Zoopla and Rightmove won’t accept listings from individual landlords and require that these be submitted by an agent. If you go it alone, you miss out on this huge pool of potential tenants.

High street or online agent, which is best?

The next decision you’ll need to make is whether you want to use a high street agent or an online agent.

While a high street agent can provide peace of mind when dealing with all the rules and regulations you need to consider, they also charge hefty fees for their services, which can eat into your profits.

Traditional agents will provide a more complete service but online alternatives can find tenants quickly and with fewer fees involved.

An online agent might be the best way to find the right tenants quickly. Rather than charging a monthly percentage of your rental income, or the first month’s rent (as a traditional agent would) an online agent will charge a one-off upfront fee for a tenant find service. All the photographs and ad text are down to you though, so make sure you’re willing to put the time in to making your property look as appealing as you can.

With either a traditional high-street company or an online agent, you will also have the option of a more comprehensive property management service. If you’re short on time and don’t want to handle the day-to-day business of managing your property and your tenants, this might be a good option.

How do I make sure I’m appealing to the right tenants?

Finding the right tenant can be a difficult balance – do you restrict your options to ensure the perfect tenant for your rental property, or do you widen your criteria to make sure that you aren’t left with an empty house?

Be clear in your mind about what is a requirement and what is negotiable. Is it possible to open up your options by listing your property as suitable for students, or pet friendly? It makes sense to keep your pool wide to begin with, but make sure to include some vetting questions that your prospective tenants have to answer before coming to a viewing.

It’s always a good idea to meet your tenants before agreeing to let to them. It’s likely that this will happen naturally if you conduct the viewings yourself. If someone is asking reasonable questions and being upfront about their circumstances, the chances are that they will be a good tenant.

An agent, landlord and tenant meet during a flat viewing.

Are there any other checks I should do on potential tenants?

No amount of vetting can replace tenant referencing – this is the single best way to make sure you’re making the right decision about letting to a tenant.

Referencing should include a credit check, reference from an employer and a previous landlord, any information on County Court Judgements (CCJs), fraud charges or other court cases. If your tenants require a guarantor, then you will need to undertake referencing on the guarantor as well. Those working with an agent, online or otherwise, should find they’re able to arrange referencing for you, though it may incur an additional fee.

Should your tenants pass referencing then you will be able to access Rent Guarantee Insurance, which covers your rental income and protects you from risk. You’ll also need to make sure tenants have completed a Right to Rent check before they sign a tenancy agreement.

Can’t find the tenants you want?

If you’ve followed the advice above, you’ve done everything you can to put yourself in the best possible position to attract good tenants.

If you’re still struggling to find tenants, or are considering leaving the buy-to-let property market altogether, we might be able to help take your vacant property off your hands. UPSTIX can buy rental properties with or without tenants in situ with an instant offer and a fair valuation.

Explore our hassle-free selling process.