How to Choose the Right Tenant For Your Property (Video)

James Davis from Upad gives us his top tips on how to choose the right tenant and the alarm bells to look out for.
  • Sometimes you can’t beat the gut feeling you get from meeting someone
  • Look at the car they arrive in. If that’s a mess, it might be a sign of the state they will leave a property in
  • You might want to consider going two landlords back for references to completely protect yourself


Before taking on a tenant I think it's very important you do your due diligence on them and who they are as a person.

I'm myself a managing landlord which means that I do all the viewings myself, I manage the property throughout the course of the tenancy agreement, and I think the first thing to do (and what I recommend landlords do) is to do the viewings themselves - the gut feel of meeting somebody, it's very hard to put your finger on it but I think it's imperative that you do that, sort of looking somebody in the eye I think says a huge amount about who they actually are. You can ask them questions like "when would you want to move into the property?" and if they say "Next week's okay" then have they actually given notice to their existing landlord for example (because they've got to give notice)? What that will flag up in your mind is whether they're going to do a runner from you in 11 months' time for example without giving you the correct notices.

Anecdotally, various things I've heard from colleagues of mine is what car do they turn up in? Was it full of crisp packets and rubbish in the car because that's probably an indication that your property in 12 months time will look in a similar sort of state.

And I think the other thing worth mentioning is you might want to go 2 landlords back for a reference because if you had a problem tenant and you're asked for a reference you'd probably give a shining example of how great they've been because you want them out of your property as quickly as you can. To overcome that you may want to go 2 back to completely protect yourself.

But at the end of the day for the majority of landlords owning a buy-to-let or a portfolio of properties is your pension fund. It would be very easy just to take the first person that comes along without doing your checks and end up with a tenant in arrears for 6 months, potentially damaging the property and you having to sort that mess out with the costs and the effort associated with it. A lot of that pain can be alleviated by physically meeting a tenant and also fully referencing them.

There's a lot of the tips that we've got on our blog which is at and on there is a lot of advice and top tips about how you can maximise yields, minimise voids and ensure you're getting the best possible tenants along, but I think those in a nutshell are my key takeaways that I think would be good for landlords to know.