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Avoiding tenant trouble before it’s too late!

26th October, 2022
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tenants in malta

Finding the right tenants without any problems

A property that you own – whether it is your main residence or one you rent out – is a huge financial asset and needs to be properly taken care of in order to retain or increase its value over time. If you are in the business of being a landlord, it is very important to ensure that you have the right tenant staying in your property: choose the wrong one and it can become a nightmare. Just remember, someone in the process of applying for a rental property will always be on their best behaviour…but don’t be fooled.  Bad tenants can not only damage a property causing you financial loss, they can also disappear without a trace owing you rent plus make you the ogre of the entire neighbourhood. This is especially true when you have tenants that engage in illegal activities or anti-social behaviour.

We share some of the things you can do to ensure you get the perfect tenant and also typical danger signs to be on the lookout for during tenancy.

What you can do prior to deciding on a tenant

First of all, as a landlord you have to obey the law and you cannot discriminate against anyone for the following reasons:

  • For being a foreigner
  • Be biased based on race or colour
  • Be biased because of religion
  • Be biased because of sex or gender
  • Be biased because of disabilities
  • Be biased because of sexual orientation
  • Be biased because of familial status (having children or no children)

If you have a shortlist of candidates or have decided on someone you consider as ideal, do the following:

Do a credit check on the applicant:

  • Do they have an excellent history of paying their bills?
  • Establish their debt to income ratio
  • Look for prior evictions, civil or criminal judgements against them and even bankruptcy claims

Ask the applicant for referrals:

Follow up on at least TWO of the referrals to ensure they are legitimate. These are Questions to ask previous landlords:

  • Did the tenant pay their rent on time?
  • Why did they leave?
  • Did they behave and show respect towards other neighbours?
  • Did they complain a lot?
  • Were there any damages to the apartment when they left or normal wear and tear?
  • Did they obey the required notice period when they ended their tenancy?
  • Did they ever have roommates or sub-let?
  • Was there ever suspicious behaviour on the part of the tenant?
tenants in malta

When you already have a tenant in place but suspect that not everything is as it seems, be on the lookout for:

  • Illegal activities such as a tenant dealing in drugs or prostitution
  • Sub-letting the property
  • Anti-social behaviour such as verbal abuse of neighbours, violence, vandalism, noise at unacceptable hours and the dumping of rubbish anywhere where it is not allowed
  • Unusual and reoccurring smells that are not related to anything you know
  • Secrecy and isolation of the tenant
  • An unacceptable amount of visitors arriving and leaving on foot
  • More than the average amount of vehicles stopping at the property and dropping off or picking up people
  • Unusual noises on a continuous basis

What you can do to prevent suspicious activity:

  • Carry out regular inspections, but make sure you follow the law and do not arrive unexpected or unannounced
  • Get the police involved if you have acceptable proof that there are illegal activities being carried out on your property
  • If you have a property manager, make sure they are on top of things all the time and report to you on a regular basis
  • Proceed to evict the tenant if you have clear evidence from the police that something illegal is going on and they refuse to leave

Final things to remember as a landlord

Always remember, as a landlord you will be liable if you allow any criminal activity on your property and do nothing in order to stop or prevent it. Bad tenants can also damage your property and those of neighbours, costing you thousands of euros to repair. Unsavoury tenants can also affect the value of your property and even lead to the property getting a reputation as a hotspot for nefarious activity and it can also affect property prices of an entire neighbourhood. Never be in a hurry to find a new tenant, as this may lead to an oversight on your part which you may regret later. Rather take your time, do the proper background and credit checks and find yourself an ideal, problem-free tenant. It will be worth it!

One of the best ways to keep tabs on your tenants and set yourself free from all the hands-on labour involved is to appoint a property manager. At Frank Salt Real Estate we have a dedicated Property Management Division that will look after everything to do with your property and tenants. To see what we can do for you, click here.

Get in touch.

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