OpenRent Community

Newbie - help please

Hello. This is the 1st time I have used open rent and I am a little lost. Can anyone point me in the right direction please? I have listed my property for rent and have had an enquiry about it. However before I do any viewings I would like to know more about the individual. Is it acceptable to ask about their income at this stage and who would be living in the house? I am also not keen on tenants that are on benefits as have had big problems here before. If they do not meet my basic requirements it is a waste of time for both me and the enquirer. How do I weed people out at this stage and how do I respond to the enquiry that I have had to date. I cannot see a respond button. Really sorry if theses are very obvious and daft questions!

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Oh, don’t worry Jayne2 - I was like a fish out of water when I first started here. There is actually a button which makes questions automatic in response to the tenant’s first approach. However, that aside, you can message them with a list of questions you would like answers to. Just remember - it’s your property - your rules (other than those decided by law) - and you are totally in control of what happens. If they meet your requirements then you can meet them and show them the property. If not, just give an excuse - such as you may be arranging an open viewing i.d.c. and will let them know if you do. You are not obliged to take the first tenant.

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its easy just ask them the questions thru openrent .If they dont reply go no further

These are perfectly valid questions to ask. I put in my adverts that reference checks will be done and who will do them. I also mention this to the prospective tenant/s during our initial conversations. Most tenants are familiar with these. For the ones that are not, I give them an overview of what’s involved (credit check, employment check income must be x time monthly rent etc…). WRT tenants in receipt of benefit. Again I specify in my advert and in any subsequent discussion that cannot accept such tenants due to mortgage restrictions.

I always ask. Is this for yourself? are you in work? are you a smoker? do you have any pets? If they dont reply go no further to a viewing

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As as much as you want, its your property and Your RISK.
I check them out o Social media, AND, ask to visit them at their current rental property ( because that’s what your place is going to like like in a couple of months ! )

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You should ask all your questions as soon as, be upfront about it. It is not only your time that is been used here. So ask, 1,2,3,4,5,. ask as much as want. This way the tenant can learn all about the landlord as well. Just dont ask any person questions like are you dating someone and will they visit. For that, you have no right at all.

chris 10. Its a good idea to visit a tenant in their present property. If they live somewhere else that can be impossible i just had a couple of tenants who lived in London but moving up to the North West. So pre questions are important .often they will tell you things you dont really need to know. Remember just as we are judging them they are judging us!

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They can judge all they want, - they’ve not got a £100 + k property at stake. '-)
( appreciate its not always physically possible )

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Hi Jayne
We only just handed over to our 2nd tenant. We started off too tentatively feeling we were being nosey so didn’t have the guts to ask the right questions. Then after a couple of time wasters I went in like the gestapo on open rent firing questions at the meet hint of an enquiry. That just seemed to scare everyone off! Now we’ve got a nice balance. Asking the right questions but wording them in a nicer way. I start by thanking them for their interest and can they please tell us a bit about themselves and their circumstances, what they do for a living, whether they are currently renting etc. I tell them exactly how much it costs to rent our property per month including bills and that as caring and responsible landlords it’s our duty to be confident they can afford it and we have a legal responsibility to ensure they have the right to rent in the uk, that we will take references and will want to see financial documents if they proceed to a viewing That approach worked a treat. Serious tenants expect no less. Time wasters trying it on just don’t reply.
Good luck.

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You are right you can ask questions in a nice way The most important being… what do you do for a living?

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I use a basic application form to gather that information name address income eligibility to rent in the Uk any CCJ length of let required etc
Some people don’t return it so it depends on the response I get as to whether I use it or not

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Thanks @Melinda and @chris9 for sharing your solutions to this problem!

I also use an online application form for prospective tenants to complete. I built my own online form using Zopa Forms and just email the prospective tenants a link to the form. This enables me to gather all the information I need before deciding on which applicant I offer the tenancy to. From there it moves on to the full referencing process. One thing I would like to see on OpenRent is the ability to add personalised questions that the tenant must answer before being able to apply for my property. The point in this would be to enable me to filter out more of the unsuitable applicants even earlier on in the process.

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Loving all this help - new here, and to being a landlord! @Jonathan2 would be great if you wouldn’t mind sharing your online questionnaire.

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Hello Jayne I am a newbie too. I am just about to let my first property and trying to learn as much as possible. Great question!

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@Bam and @maz.m — welcome to OpenRent! If there’s anything you’d love to have more support on but can’t find in the:

Then let me know and I will try and write something up :slight_smile:

Sam

Thanks Sam! First time I’m doing this so all help much appreciated. This may sound daft, but what sort of questions should I be asking prospective tenants? I have no idea! Obvs what decent tenants but no idea about asking for salary details and stuff!

Cheers

Neil

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BAM.MK Be upfront with your questions and remember that SOME of the applicants will NOT be upfront

@Bam - Here’s a link to my Zoho form (not Zopa form as I stated in my original post). I’ve had to amend it slightly to remove details of my property and it does need a tweak or two for other things (e.g. adding a Universal Credit checkbox). Once the prospective tenant has competed the form, I am automatically emailed a PDF version to my inbox. I now also send a Privacy Notice when I email the link to the prospective tenant so I don’t fall foul of GDPR. Given that the cost of the referencing now falls on the landlord, I will also now be requesting to see their last 3 payslips and bank statements before I move them forward to referencing.

I do generally find that OpenRent do a lot of the legwork for you, but I’m also a member of the RLA as they provide a lot of useful information and documentation. For example, their members website has a section detailing everything that a landlord should do pre and post tenancy

Regards,
Jonathan.

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