Should I take an overseas tenant?

I have received a message from a potential family that lives overseas. They both have jobs overseas, but are coming to the UK in about a week and do not have jobs lined up in UK. They have a friend that can view the property and are offering to pay up front for 6-12 months rent. Does anyone have experience of renting to overseas people?

First and foremost how did they get through immigration with no jobs lined up
What does their visa state
Be very wary sounds like an entry through the back door

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Thank you very much for your reply. They are from Hong Kong so I believe they would come over via the BNO scheme, whereby the can come to the UK on a visa as a visitor for 6 months initially.

So, what A_A said. Make sure they have the right to stay in the UK. You must make sure you do not rent to someone who doesn’t. If they’re UK passport holders that’s obviously fine

I personally would not accept 6 months but 12 months as it could be really hard to find jobs. And make sure they are professionals in a line of job where they’re likely to get jobs quickly. I would also make sure that the funds are theirs (i.e. savings and not a loan). If they can’t show that then I’d say no.

Edit: saw your comment re: the BNO scheme after posting.

If they have a six month visa sign a six month AST with rent upfront
And keep tabs on immigration status. If it expires etc deal with it promptly
Don’t give a contract for 12 months as you don’t know what will happen to their immigration status at six months

Thank you Per and A_A, really helpful. I would take it that all I could do is reference for their current employer in HK? I guess OpenRent does not do credit checking outside of the UK? I don’t even know this is worth doing if they are offering to pay 6-12 month up front?

If you are not sure walk away. Don’t do anything if you are not comfortable

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Thank you. I’m going to go ahead with the viewing but also need to consider their Covid19 testing too on arrival to the UK. I’m 100% with you, I do turn potential tenants down if I don’t get a good feeling from them. It’s a two way thing for me.

The majority of my tenants are overseas with no or very little UK financial footprint. Do your homework on the potential tenant thoroughly. I’ve gone as far as asking for the identity documents of the persons giving the reference if they are based overseas too. Its their willingness to give these that can be the most telling. Potential tenants know that their lack of footprint is an issue and genuine tenants will be as helpful as possible in my experience. If it all checks out, 6 month AST with 6 months rent up front + full deposit of 5 weeks should have you covered.

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“You can apply for the BNO visa from overseas, but you should wait for a decision on your application before you travel to the UK.” - British National (Overseas) visa - GOV.UK

I’m not certain that a visitors visa qualifies as a right to reside and the website advises people not to come over until they’ve recieved their BNO.

Personally I wouldn’t touch this. If you can get confirmation directly from the government that this would be acceptable and understand what steps you’ll have to take if their visa lapses, then it should be alright.