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NEW LANDLORDS: 5 warning signs to watch out for when considering rental applications

As a new landlord, you should be checking every application from a prospective tenant very carefully. A bit of scrutiny now will weed out tenants that could cause you problems in the future.

It’s not always obvious what to look out for, though, so here are our top five warning signs. Watch out for these in any tenant property visits or applications to establish a successful rental partnership.

  1. Multiple residences in the last three years

Always ask for the addresses the tenant has lived at over the last three years. If someone has lived in more than two properties in this time, you should ask why. There may well be a valid reason but, equally, it could be because they have had problems with landlords, flatmates or lettings agents. Dig down to find out what’s behind it – it could save you experiencing the same issues.

  1. Late rent

You should always check landlord references to find out if the tenant pays on time or has caused any other concerns – such as complaints from neighbours or damage to the property or furnishings.

If the tenant has been late with the rent on more than two occasions without a valid reason, steer clear. As a landlord you don’t want to have to chase your tenants for payment. Ultimately it could mean that you have to end their tenancy agreement and seek new tenants – which, as you’re discovering, can be a lengthy and time-consuming process.

  1. General attitude

Most decent tenants will want to create a good impression with their future landlord. It’s a little like a job interview. If you meet the potential tenant and they haven’t taken any care over their appearance, and aren’t making any effort to engage with you, tread carefully. If they look scruffy, seem demanding in their manner or perhaps appear not to care, then it’s possible they may not treat your property with respect either. Hold off and wait for some tenants that you feel are more trustworthy.

  1. Lack of documentation

As a landlord you now need to check various details including your tenant’s Right to Rent.  These duties can mean you’re liable for any issues. So it’s not worth taking any risks. If a tenant doesn’t have the documentation you need - whether it’s proof of ID, details of their employment or their current address - don’t let your property to them.

  1. Fault finding

If someone comes to view your property as a prospective tenant and proceeds to point out every minor defect they can find – this is a red flag. It’s particularly true if your property is near perfect! In our experience, this kind of tenant will have you constantly sorting out repairs and spending unnecessary money to keep them happy.


If you feel intimidated by find the process of tenant-vetting, a good lettings agency like Progressive Lets can take away the pressure. Not only are we highly experienced in identifying the best tenants for our landlords, but we will also deal with any concerns that arise during the tenancy itself. Email Paul Oddie our New Business Manager or give him a call on 01733 293900 if you’d like to discuss our letting and management services.