Like its neighbour, the United Kingdom, Ireland is in the midst of a housing crisis, with there simply being too few affordable homes for those who need them. The private rental sector is increasingly picking up the slack.
There is, in fact, a rather loud debate on whether the government is placing too much faith in the private sector’s ability to provide a solution to the housing shortage. See, for example, this article, which sets out the issues: http://www.thejournal.ie/private-rental-sector-over-reliant-government-hap-3492515-Jul2017/.
These issues aside, however, landlords are providing much-needed homes, and it’s vital that they take steps to find the most reliable and responsible tenants. What are the best strategies?
Always check a prospective tenant’s financial history.
Clearly, a person’s financial background is the most sensitive guide to whether he or she can be trusted with what is a hugely valuable asset, so it’s crucial that you check credit references and ask for documentary proof of income. This exercise can be slightly more problematic if you are renting your property to students or first jobbers, since members of both groups will not usually have made a significant financial footprint for you to evaluate. In these situations, we’d suggest that you make sure they have adequate funding to rent your property, and it might be worth insisting on their naming a guarantor.
Follow up personal references
While receiving your rent payments is of prime importance, you will be equally concerned that tenants treat your property with respect, keeping it clean and tidy and being considerate towards their neighbours. To this end, you should always ask for personal references, ideally including at least one from a former landlord.
Engage a management company
Both of the tasks highlighted above, and much more, can be executed by a management company like, for example, http://clients1st.ie/, who are leaders in property management in Dublin. You will be understandably concerned that the fees charged by agencies will erode your income, but they are experts at the job of identifying great tenants and can therefore save you significant sums of money in the longer term.
Delegating this work can also spare you a great deal of time and stress, a boon whether you have just one rental property or an entire portfolio of houses and apartments to manage.