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Harry Fisher

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I am new to this game but have recently bought a house to refurbish and let in the near future, the place stinks because the owners who had it for 20 years were smokers and Cat owners.

After I have done all the work I don't want the house to return to that state, is it worthwhile stipulating non smokers and no pets when letting, or would it seriously limit my chances of getting a tenant, I am also going to insist on tenants who are in employment?

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YES......Here's my tenant criteria list


Applications from the following people are not acceptable under any circumstances

• Smokers.

• Pet owners (specifically dogs, cats or reptiles).

• Non English speakers.

• Those with resident children.

• Anyone in receipt of housing benefit or LHA.

• Those wanting Company lettings.

• Any letting that would results in overcrowding (eg parents with children in a 1 bedroom flat).

• Anyone running a business or commercial operation directly from the property.

• Applicants who have long lead times to moving in.

Applications from the following people will depend on circumstances

• Non working tenants…..including part time workers, unemployed, those looking for work, university students with/ without working partner are each considered on their own merits.

• Non resident children…..eg single, divorced, separated parent who looks after a child every other weekend may be OK. Would depend primarily on age of children.

• Lettings for less than 6 months…..normally requires higher rent to cover fixed costs.

• Poor references or no references or don’t qualify for RGI…..may require a home owning guarantor or rent period in advance.

• Age under 25......depends on the person, circumstances, maturity, job etc.

Some other considerations

* Same sex couples....in my experience it often ends in tears before the end of the fixed term of the AST.

* People from what I would describe as 'Third World' countries eg Indian sub continent & Africa. I've had tenants who have never had a fridge or a proper bathroom or kitchen before. They are not familiar with vacuum cleaners, don't understand condensation & the need to ventillate rooms. They also hate the British winter.....many never having experienced heaters of any kind. My experience is they prefer to sleep on the floor rather than in beds.

* I use extra caution for any application from people outside of Europe & North America

* Anyone who requests anything out of my comfort zone/ my normal way of operating. It doesn't matter what the reason......its likely to make extra work for me and more chance of it going wrong. I stick to what I know.

* Shift Workers.......not an obvious group to avoid BUT when they work all night & sleep all day you try getting hold of them on the phone....its virtually impossible! Its OK if you want to call them at 4.30 am when they get home from work or in the small window of opportunity between when they get out of bed & leave for work in the afternoon, otherwise you'll never get hold of them......best avoid. If you need to carry out repairs on the property thee are more problems with shift workers cos you need to work the nightshift also......obviously not ideal.

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Yes, adhere to Richlist's excellent recommendations and you shouldn't go too far wrong on your tenant selection.

Why anyone would want to smoke is beyond my comprehension let alone being able to afford a packet of fags but hey! ho! it's nearly a free Country however, be very firm about the fact that you do not want any smoker's in your rental property or cats or dogs.

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We don't allow smoking in the property at all. We don't exclude smokers, but having given up smoking about 13 years ago, I can smell any trace of it from about 300 yds, I can even smell the packet being unwrapped several doors down. Seriously though, if a smoker were to turn up, to look at a property they would get second place over a non smoker. I know from experience the temptation is too great and if it's piddling down outside, cold and dark, they just may open the window and think they can get away with it.

Having just had tenants with house cats were are also very firmly anti cat or dog, even though I have the smelliest dog in the world myself.


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