I know this seems like a very silly and novice question to those of you who are experienced Landlords, but I have to ask.

I am about to start advertising my first property to Let and I will be managing it myself. The problem I have is, I just don’t know what order the tenant finding process goes in!

The house will be ready to be advertised from the end of August, possibly sooner. With regards to the legal stuff I have to do prior to and after a tenant goes in, I'm up to speed with what is required.

All I'm unsure about is the actual vetting process and when people fill in application forms and provide me with all their details etc.

I have also never been a tenant, so unsure of the process from that side either.

I imagine the process goes something like this:
*Advertise property (I have signs currently being made and I am going to sign up to OpenRent)
*Receive calls/interest about viewings
*Arrange said viewings

...... and then I'm a bit stuck!

So if I have 10 viewings, there may be 5 (couples) who say they don't want it for whatever reason.

So the remaining 5 couples are all interested in renting it.

This is where I'm stuck of what to do next...

Is this the point that I then get all the individuals interested (10) to fill in application forms and then do I run checks on ALL 5 couples (10 applicants) and then choose who I'd like from there?!

That could run into the hundreds of Pounds cost couldn't it? (I'm going to use TenantVerify)

The main questions are, at what point of the process do I ask for people to fill in applications and ask for their passport/bank/reference details etc etc?

When and how many do I check?

I've also read things about charging the applicants for the cost of doing the checks or taking a small deposit too?

Obviously after this bit and I've chosen who I want, I think it's pretty straight forward.

There are plenty of "walk throughs" with regard to the other stuff and what the tenant needs (epc, gas cert, deposit info etc etc) so I'm all good with that. I just can't find anything online with a walk through of actually getting the tenants in and the process that goes with it.

Once I've chosen the tenants (after the checks).... is this when I then ask them for a deposit?

The AST will be drawn up and we'll meet again to do the Inventory Check and then sign the AST/Inventory and off we pop (obviously the moving in dates/rent due dates etc will be sorted and in the AST)

I know this reads like I'm a moron and haven't got a clue what I'm doing; only half of that is true!

We all need to start somewhere and this is the final piece in the puzzle for me.

Thanks to anyone who can help!

Hi 167139

As a member of the NLA you have unlimited access to the Advice Line, call them and explain your situation, they will guide you through everything.

Also have a look at the library section of the website where you will find subjects marked with c (core), they form a foundation knowledge that every landlord should know, alternatively you might want to have a look at one of the day long foundation courses that NLA provides.

Check out the forms section of the NLA website where you can create an AST easily, and have a look through the other services like NLA tenant check (cheaper than TenantVerify) and recognised suppliers list (a lot of them provide discount for NLA members).

Good luck

Hiya. I would suggest that the terms and conditions for Open Rent are read very carefully before charging the tenant anything that could be classified as a fee. When last I used them they were very clear that prospective tenants pay no fee of any kind.(not sure if they have changed because I did have a long conversation with them about it being unfair to the landlords - their PAYING clients). Not even the holding deposit which would normally allow the landlord time to suspend his advertising while vetting the prospective tenants. I have stopped using Open Rent for a myriad of reasons. You can try Iamtheagent as well but they also have terms about charging prospective tenants fees so worth reading their terms and conditions carefully. I am presently looking into UPAD and Prosico to determine whether to use them when next I wish to advertise.

AS for the process...I usually vet prospective tenants before arranging a viewing. Amazing how many time wasters there are out there. I ask a series of questions. One of which is regard to their salaries. If their salary is not roughly 3 times the rent then chances are they will fail the tenant referencing. So, for example if the rent is £1000 pcm, my question is 'Would you say that your total income is equal to or more than £3000 pcm?' And then that leaves the door open if they wish to be more specific but also gives them the option of a little privacy not to divulge more info than they are comfortable doing.

If after viewing the property the prospective tenant decides that he/she is interested in the property I then email or give a hard copy of the application form to them. I will do this with every prospective tenant who states their interest because believe me just because they say they like your property it does not mean they will follow through. I advise them to get it back to me, with copies of supporting documents - forms of id etc - as soon as possible and make them aware that the application is not to be viewed as confirmation that they have the property ie that the application still needs to be processed. This sort of indirectly hints/reminds them that viewings are still being conducted and that they could lose the property if they are not speedy in their efforts.

Once a completed application form comes back to me, I look through it and the supporting documents. At this point some landlords, if they are happy with what they see, will ask for a holding sum to cease viewings. Some ask for it along with the application form. For you to decide how you wish to proceed.

If there is more than one application form I will look through them all to determine how many seem viable. If more than one is viable then I have to make a decision as to whether to do a tenant check on all or perhaps just the one I like the best. The risk of just doing one is that if it does not pass the tenant reference check then you would possibly have lost the others. Personally, I find by asking questions before the stage of tenant reference check has been reached, I usually have a pretty good idea as to whether the tenant will fail or pass the check. I suggest in addition to asking the question about salaries the following questions are asked:

'Part of the tenant referencing check will be to make contact with your landlord. What do you think your landlord might say about your history of rent payments? Is he likely to say that they were always paid in full and on time?'

'Part of the reference check will be to make contact with your employer. Will he/she confirm that you are an employee with a good track record and that you are likely to be employed there for the foreseeable future?'

Of course a prospective tenant can lie when answering those questions but I have found that usually dodgy prospective tenants disappear when they realise how thorough I am being.

I would also suggest you use the NLA tenant check. They are very good and you get a discount for being a member :)

I would suggest as well you get an idea of what checks the NLA tenant check does and that way you can ask similar questions of your tenant before engaging the NLA tenant check ie to weed out wasting money running checks on people who are likely to fail. I do believe the forms, which the NLA tenant check sends out to prospective tenants, are on the website...

Good luck with it and I hope your journey as a private landlord is full of more ups than down :)

An amendment. My apologies. Not necessarily will a prospective tenant fail the tenant reference check if the salary is not roughly 3 times the rent. The tenant check company might recommend that a guarantor be found and not outrightly classify the application as failed.