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Managing a property is a full-time job, that’s why we have estate agents and management companies in abundance to take this job out of our hands. If you do choose to do the dirty work yourself and search for tenants, then be sure to take the time to properly screen them in order to save yourself time and money, and from headaches further down the line.
When meeting potential tenants, be sure to find out what their reasons are for moving – either through a formal interview or during a casual conversation (the latter could actually help you get more useful information than an interview). Watch out for early warnings signs of a bad tenant if they cite a bad relationship with their previous landlord as a reason for moving, or even mention an eviction.
Find out when they are planning to move. If they say tomorrow or next week, then it might suggest that they aren’t good forward thinkers. Having said that, tenants who are looking to move in two months are equally bad as they would be unlikely to commit before seeing a long list of other properties. You may even consider not showing your property to these tenants if their timings don’t fit with yours. Best not to waste their time or yours.
Another important consideration is how many people will be living in the property. More people living in the property means more wear and tear, so you may want to consider adjusting the security deposit accordingly. The UAE also has legal restrictions on more than the allotted number of people living in each type of property. Unfortunately, it is commonplace for renters to have additional friends or family live with them, and in doing so, they could be breaking the terms of their tenancy agreement.
Additional important information you should obtain are your prospective tenant’s monthly income as well as references from previous landlords and an employer. A tenant’s monthly income should be approximately two to three times the asking rent amount; and if they are paying in several cheques, find out if they have the funds for the first payment ready. Obtaining references is important as it is a way of confirming the applicant’s information, and it can be helpful to ask viewers to come with a reference prepared in order to save you the time chasing up a response from a busy ex-landlord or employer.
• Find out what their reasons are for moving when meeting potential tenants
• Get a clear idea on when they are planning on moving to another property
• Obtain references to confirm prospect information especially income data
Source: Nicholas Baker, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer