The Best Type of Tenants

Saying that one group of people will make better or worse tenants than another can lead to negative stereotyping and will often cause landlords to make the wrong decision when it comes to the tenant find.

Easy to say until a rogue toddler's redecorated the living room or a group of sharers have left your beloved investment looking like an earthquake's passed through the suburbs. However, many issues will be a result of choosing the wrong group of people for your style, your expectations and your motivations.

In many cases, the property and its location will often dictate your tenant type; so make sure you're ready for young professionals before you invest in that city centre apartment.

Knowing the good and bad points of each group will help manage your expectations...

It was clear from the answers from Upad Landlords that every group has its own merits and it's all about a good match at the end of the day.

Nevertheless they made for great reading and we hope sharing just a few of them will help give a few pointers.

We're also here 7 days a week to help with any further advice you need. Call us on 0333 240 1220 or send an email to [email protected] or visit and we'll help you out.

The Perfect Match

1. The Definitive Guide...

(John Landaw)
In order of preference:

a. Students
I have rented to students over many years. The positive points compared with other types of tenants are as follows:

  • Because they are studying, they want no trouble with the landlord and so tend to pay the rent without question
  • Because they are young my experience has been that they are polite with a landlord, who they see as a figure of authority
  • Because they are usually financially dependent on family, parents are usually willing to act as guarantors, and are equally keen that the student should study hard
  • Because they tend to be intelligent, when problems at a property do arise students are clear and concise and usually reasonable when asking the landlord to remedy the issue. Sometimes parents become involved with regard to an issue, especially where they are guarantors, and this usually facilitates matters, rather than causes conflict

b. Elderly people
I have found this a very easy and pleasant type of tenant:

  • Because they rarely default on rent, tending to be what we might call 'old school' in this regard
  • Because they are nearly always polite and reasonable in their requests
  • Because they often have children, who will call if there is a problem
  • Because they tend to be quiet, and so cause no problems, especially important if the rental property is a flat
  • If they like your property they are unlikely to leave it, since the call of a career requiring them to move to another location is not an issue

c. Single parents
Even where rent is subsidised through Housing Benefits, I have usually found that this class of tenant likes to be settled, wants to keep a property clean and tidy for their children's sake, and is reasonable in requests for repairs to be done or other issues resolved.

d. Professional couples

  • Often good tenants, but career demands often mean they they have to move to another location
  • For some reason, they tend, but only in my experience, to call the landlord over certain matters they could easily resolve themselves with a little initiative, even where the landlord has no objection to paying to sort out the problem
  • Sometimes their relationship hits the rocks, and so the tenancy ends!

My preferences may seem odd to some, but they are based on many years of experience as a professional landlord.

2. It's all down to character, not previous experiences

(Mike Soter)

I've been a landlord for several years and have seen many tenants come and go. I've seen good ones and some, not so good. Whilst I like to think that if you treat people with respect they will reciprocate - that's not always the case. There are no hard and fast rules.

It's about judging the prospective tenants character and to do this you need to meet them personally. You need to see everyone with an open mind and not prejudge them based on previous experiences. All people are different and have different value systems irrespective of their profession or background. If you are in a situation where you have two candidates who are almost identical, you may want to choose a professional over student or a post-graduate student over first year student etc.

I like tenants who are down to earth, communicate well, ask questions and come across as having courtesy and respect. Remember, their attitude and character will also show when you deal with them in the future.

3. Loyal families just need the occasional lick of paint

(Sue Elward)

My favourite tenants are ones who view my property as their home rather than a stopgap or temporary solution. A family with children tend to put down roots and have more of an interest in looking after their environment. The fact that this is purely because it benefits them is neither here nor there! Their children do make a mess but it is usually mess that can be cured with a tub of emulsion. They also notice things like leaks before they become a real problem (again because it benefits them). They also stay longer which means no 'annual turnover' just when I want to go on holiday :)

4. Couples can give you more security

(James Lynch)

My favourite tenants are professional couples. This doubles the security as you can check two separate references. Also if anything happens to the employment status of one and they're finding it hard to pay the rent. The other tenant can usually cover costs until they find another job.

Also a couple can manage the rent more easily as it is halved. They also tend to look after the property better as they can often afford a cleaner or can share the house work between themselves. Couples are far more likely to look after the property, and take pride living there, as they see it as a home and are more likely to entertain friends and family etc.

5. Don't write off students because of the odd party


It will often depend on the property, for those of us dealing with flats I am always keen to find a professional couple. You have the stability of knowing who is using the apartment on a day to day basis (unaffected by changing relationship statuses) but also the confidence of a regular income and therefore rent on time.

Young children can add to the risk of damage and so I would be cautious to lend an upmarket rental to a family with young children, or negotiate removal of some of the most delicate items to avoid risk of damage.

I also must fight the corner of the student here, they often receive a bad press but can be responsible and decent tenants. I have had trainee medical practitioners who work tough shifts whilst studying and are highly responsible. The regular student loans mean that they always pay me rent, often I time rental demands alongside their loan income to help them manage money and ensure no arrears. Yes there is the odd risk of wild parties, but a good relationship and clear expectations haven't let me down yet!

6. Single professionals love their home comforts

(Stuart Langford)

The majority of our tenants are single professionals. They work hard, like to live in comfortable surroundings, so en-suites, garages, dishwashers and so on help 'sell' a property to them. Our tenants have good jobs with long-term stability, so our tenancies would run for two years or more. Tenants like this look after the property well, and one even did a full re-paint of the house with her builder dad, which she paid for in full and the results were better than the original builder's work.

Where we have let to couples, the formula is; both working, thorough referencing, both names on the tenancy agreement, always email both of them, and help them establish themselves in what for some may be a new living arrangement, the first time they've lived together.

We ask all of our tenants to pay by Direct Debit, which they do on the button, never miss a payment and we always email a receipt and a thank you, every month, on every property.

7. More mature tenants may provide a long term solution

(Adrian Williams)

Retired people want security. Moving home is a huge ordeal at their time of life so they will do their best to avoid it. They know that to get security they need to pay the rent on time and treat your property with respect. They also appreciate a long term lease so that there is never the worry of notice to quit hanging over them and for this, they are prepared to pay a premium. At the natural end of the tenancy, your property is in good condition.

Both tenant and landlord win. Stable, happy tenants and a guaranteed premium rent and relatively low maintenance costs. It's not all one way, though. To keep the tenants happy, do repairs very promptly and very well, and don't raise the rent. That can be done at the start of a new tenancy.

8. The best type is the one who checks you out too

(Marc heller)

My favourite type of tenants are of course those tenants who have all their references ready (employment ref, previous landlord ref, last 3 months bank statements and some form of ID, holding fees at the ready and of course, those looking to stay long term (they can demonstrate this by not requiring a 6 month break clause in the contract).

A good sign from a perspective tenant is if they do a check on you (i.e. the private landlord) too e.g. they could do this by checking out your Linkedin profile, asking to speak to the departing tenants, checking to see where the private landlord is going to lodge their deposit. Nothing too evasive from their side but enough to show that they are serious diligent tenants that you can feel comfortable to trust that they will pay their rent in time and look after your property.

A tenant willing to pay 6 months in advance can also be considered a 'favourite type of tenant'! Once the tenant has moved in, a favourite tenant could be a tenant who does not disturb you for every minor thing e.g. change of lightbulb, loose screw but still someone who keeps their eyes and ears open to let you know asap if there is a problem so that you can deal with it promptly before the issue gets out of hand.

9. The ultimate low maintenance tenant

(Alkarim Jivani)

My all time favourite tenant was a city executive from Tokyo who, accustomed to the confined spaces and soaring prices of the Japanese property market, thought London flats were palatially large and extremely cheap. He clearly worked all hours and barely used the flat because when he left and I did the checkout inventory, the instruction manuals were still inside the brand new oven where I'd left them three years earlier!

10. A good relationship is the only rule

(Andy Lahan)

I think the most important type of tenant is ones that you can have a good relationship with. We all have different personalities so finding ones that agree with you on major points and give all the answers you want would be the best. After that i wouldn't really be too bothered what the personal circumstances are as long as there are no obvious warning signs.

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