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Buy to let investors are going online and using social media to check their tenants, according to new research from Foundation Home Loans.
One in ten landlords are utilising social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram to gain an insight into the background of potential tenants. Research from Foundation found that landlords were using their social media accounts to gather information on jobs and the career history of tenants. They are also examining their friends and their lifestyle.
However, some landlords still prefer traditional methods. One in seven said that they visited their properties once a month in order to meet their tenants and carry out necessary repairs. One third of those surveyed chose to interview potential tenants to help them find the most suitable candidate. However, a sizable 34 per cent chose to focus on personal preferences.
Landlords who are part of the 18-34 age category generally favoured employer references as part of their screening processes. In contrast, older generations preferred to hear endorsements from the previous landlords.
The research also uncovered a preference for middle aged couples, with 21 per cent of landlords who would prefer to let to this group. This is because it is perceived that they are less likely to damage the property.
Marketing director at Foundation Home Loans, Jeff Knight, said: ‘Buy to let is a business, so it’s only natural that landlords would want to vet their potential tenants just as an employer would a potential employee. While Facebook and social media accounts may not be the best source of information if used in isolation, they can offer a valuable insight when set against other checks such as references and credit checks. After all, maintaining a good rental income is a priority and void periods can be particularly damaging, so it’s important to ensure this is not a risk when new tenants move in.’