The key of Professional HMO success is having the right tenants who pay down your mortgage. Managing these tenants in your professional HMO means knowing many things such as how to navigate tenant rights. Due to data protection this becomes a sensitive business issue. Screening applicants is no different. It’s one of the most important steps landlord can take to protect their HMO properties. You probably have some clear qualifications in mind to evaluate prospective renters, but you must also ensure that you are in compliance with regulations and laws.
Interesting enough this week for a room in one of our Professional HMOs we had a gent who passed all credit checks and as part of our due diligence we want paystubs. On his pay stub something stood out. It was a gmail address for a big company. Immediately we called the HR dept of the company to verify employment. Not too much to our surprise he did not work there and simply photo shopped a fake pay stub. Welcome to the real world of tenant screening.
Some quick screening for your Professional HMOs
- Income and length of employment. Making sure that they have adequate and reliable means to pay rent on time. Ask your applicants to provide pay-stubs and employer phone numbers so you can verify their employment status. We use the 30 percent rule, where at minimum the monthly rent must amount to no more than 30 percent of the tenant’s monthly income.
- Number of occupants. For our rooms….it is singles only…check this before finding out you have a live in boyfriend or girlfriend costing you more in electric.
- Credit check approval. Property managers and landlord are allowed to run credit checks for tenant screening purposes only, but they have to get approval first. Make sure your application includes a section that acquires an applicant’s permission to run a credit and background check.
- Eviction history. Prior evictions can be symptoms of problematic behaviour. Do not take for any reason someone with a prior eviction. Asking your applicants directly about past evictions gives them an opportunity to explain the situation. Online tenant-screening services let landlords check eviction reports and will expose the truth if your applicant lies.
Screening Tenants for Your Professional HMO will save you alot of sleepless nights…