With increased financial pressure on everyone in the current economic climate, landlords need to be vigilant as to how they vet and process potential tenants so as to avoid the risk of future defaults. Managing tenant risk has, therefore, become crucial. As with all risks, tenant risk is best-managed upfront and I would recommend the following steps to do so.
1. Do a thorough credit, reference and FICA check
It starts with doing a thorough credit check on prospective tenants and a reference check with their previous landlords. A credit check gives you insight into how they manage their financial affairs and a reference check with their previous landlords help you find out if they maintained the property in good condition, respected any house rules that were in place and paid their rent on time.
Landlords and tenants might not be aware that estate agents are legally obliged to obtain proof of their identity and proof of address according to the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, commonly referred to as FICA. Your agent will require sight of all original documents or, alternatively, certified copies. Another vital aspect of a rental is when providing original identity documents, these will need to be seen in the presence of the document holder.
2. Confirm income earning with current employer
The next step is an income reference check with their current employer. It is important to confirm the prospective tenant’s employment status as well as their income. As a general rule, the monthly rental should be more or less 30% of the tenant’s gross income.
3. Pre- and post-site inspection
Prior to the tenant moving in, landlords would be advised to have a full-site inspection done, which would consist of a full report on the status of the property as well as photos to confirm these facts. It is also recommended that a follow-up site inspection is done when the tenant vacates at the end of the lease period, prior to refunding the deposit. Site inspections can also be done midway through the lease if the landlord has concerns about the tenant’s status.
|Courtesy of Bizcommunity BY HAYLEY VANN-HERBERT