Finding the right tenant involves a combination of rigorous reference checks and subtle character assessments, according to one principal.
Latham Cuscack Real Estate director Sarah Latham said reference checking includes current and previous employment checks, rental reference checks, 100 points of identification, online search of applicants and Trading Reference Australia database checks.
Ms Latham told RPM that thorough employment checks include verifying salary, position, length of employment and details about their company.
“Don’t ask for the person the applicant has nominated as their employment reference; phone reception and ask for human resources or payroll,” she said.
Ms Latham said rental reference checks should verify rent paid, length of tenancy, condition of property at last inspection, any termination notices or complaints, any rental arrears or discrepancies and a copy of the tenant ledger.
Latham Cuscack Real Estate carries out strict Trading Reference Australia database checks on every applicant and prints out two copies of the search certificate, according to Ms Latham.
“We provide the landlord with a signed and dated copy which makes for useful proof of our due diligence with our reference checking process,” she said.
“In addition to our reference checking, we place a huge importance on ‘gut feel’ and our impression of the applicant from meeting them at the open.”
Ms Latham said it’s important to note whether or not applicants treat the property and tenant’s belongings with respect during an open home.
“Those who are respectful to the agent and other people at the open home show me what type of person they are,” she said.
According to Ms Latham, the process of checking references and qualifying the tenant shouldn’t take more than a day, and copies of all written notes should be attached to each application form.
“If the applicant’s references aren’t returning your calls, put it back on the applicant to expedite, since you need to be able to provide an answer to all applicants so they can continue their house hunting if need be.”
[Related: Take care with tenancy selection, PMs urged]