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Finding Good Tenants – Prospective Tenant Standard For Landlords
Finding a good tenant is a bit like dating. You work your way through interested applicants.Until, you come across someone with compatible qualities that you can trust. There is the headache of repairing damage. Choosing the wrong renter for your rental property can lead to big expenses. So, here is how to look for qualities of good tenants that aren’t going to cause you headaches.
Stable Income and Employment
Firstly, landlords need proof of stable income and employment. This is to feel confident in their tenant’s ability to pay rent in full and on time every month. Note, the industry standard rent-to-income ratio. It suggests that a tenant should make three times the cost of rent in monthly income, approximately.
Ability to be Honest
Secondly, it’s important to follow a thorough screening process. This can help you spot applicants that might present fraudulent information. They are doing this to get approved for your rental property. Further, a reference check is a good idea. Employers and past landlord references are the best sources for useful information. They can provide the applicant’s professional and rental behavior. Essentially, knowing more about an applicant’s past and intentions can help you determine whether they demonstrate the best tenant qualities
Thirdly finding tenants who act respectfully to both landlord and neighbors is crucial. Another reason to note, a respectful tenant will inform you of maintenance issues. Additionally, they will take care to handle their own responsibilities while living in your rental property.
Respectful tenants are more likely to:
Pay rent on time
Follow lease terms
Refrain from causing problems with other tenants or neighbors
Keep from damaging your property beyond normal wear and tear
Communicate politely and in a timely matter
Fourth, communication is the key to an effective landlord-tenant relationship. From the moment an applicant reaches out to express interest, consider their communication style.
Use the below to ask these questions:
Are they attentive?
Quick to respond to questions or messages?
Pay attention to details and read postings in full before asking questions?
Do they follow through on requests for documentation after applying?
Do they answer your questions fully or avoid tough questions?
Present Organizational Skills
Finally, an organized tenant is a great tenant. Weed out uninterested, unqualified tenants early on by focusing on organized applicants.
In addition, organized tenants will come prepared with their HomeHak tenant CV. As a result, helping to speed up the leasing process. Here they have documents and checks ready to go. They should also respond quickly. Good organization shows that they’re serious about signing the lease. Furthermore, they are willing to comply with your rental requirements.
To summarise qualities of good tenants – Stable Income and Employment. Ability to be Honest. Respectful Behavior. Good Communicator and Present Organizational Skills.
Are you looking for new tenants for your property? We’d recommend you to ask the applicants for a Tenant CV.
Leasing in Ireland – The True Cost of Being a Landlord
Despite public perception and high rents, the bottom line for landlords is rarely as clear-cut as popular opinion supposes. An immense of responsibility, paperwork, and costs is plenty to deter many from participating. For those considering leasing in Ireland, we have comprised an extensive list of costs, helping you provide the best value to your tenant while ensuring your costs are suitably maintained.
1. Lost Rent
Keeping costs low can be a priority for many landlords, but a breakeven point must be identified to detect when an empty rental income is operating at a loss. HomeHak’s Lease Calculator is designed to help you keep track of the multiple incomings and outgoings to locate the precise point of profit.
Unless you own the property in full, one of the highest costs to overcome is a monthly mortgage repayment, with an average interest rate on new mortgages in Ireland amounting to 2.79%, noticeably higher than the European average of 1.29% (D. Cassidy, Why mortgage rates in Ireland are so high, 2021). If every room in the house is leased or not, your mortgage will remain due as standard.
3. Pre/Post Letting Expenses
In order to provide the highest value to your tenants, it is necessary to ensure that upkeep expenses are incurred prior to and after a tenant has stayed. Any tenant will demonstrate signs of living, be it marks on painted walls, scrapes on floorboards, or just some well-worn couch cushions.
A landlord has the responsibility to provide well insulated and ventilated living conditions that are free from damp, as well as equipping sound structural and electrical integrity. These turnaround times should be kept to a minimum and a timely and efficient electrician, carpenter, or painter will prove invaluable.
4. PRTB Registration
The vast majority of landlords will find it necessary to register with the Private Residents Tenancy Board. Costing €90 per tenancy, this registration allows you listing on the national register of tenancies and is a requirement for any landlord.
Conventional home insurance will not cover you for rental activities and as a landlord, you are legally required to provide insurance for fire and public liability. Similarly to our Tenant’s Guide, you will find investing the time to source the best insurance a worthwhile return.
Managing a property is much more than just financially intensive; a significant amount of time is taken up dealing with issues, sourcing the correct tenant and other administrative responsibilities. In order to avoid these, as many as 87% of landlords find it worthwhile to outsource said responsibilities to estate agents…at a small fee of course (HomeLet Landlord Survey, 2015).
Estate agents will advertise your property, filter through the countless applications, and identify the best-suited applicants for your final approval. They will also collect rent on your behalf and act as the go-between for any queries big or small. Thus, providing you with a hassle-free experience ranging from 6.5% – 10% of rents (Estate Agents, Let.ie, 2021).
In addition to the direct fees mentioned above, there are legal and accounting fees. For every contract, application, and submission there will be a solicitor required to pore over and flag any potential issues, as well as bookkeeping and tax bills to meet.
7. Council Charges
Your tenant may directly deal with some fees depending on the agreement including rubbish, recycling, or other services such as gardening. However, if you will be managing these directly you need to consider these costs to appropriately offset them.
8. Maintenance & Repairs
Often the area of most debate, maintenance and repair charges can prove costly, just as they can be for any homeowner. Effective pre/post letting care will only provide you with so much cover throughout your tenant’s lease.
Ultimately luck plays a factor and a corrupt socket may be as likely as a leaky roof, although both substantially differ in cost. How many tenants you have under your roof will impact these costs and recent data indicates this number is on the rise at 2.8 on average (Savills Ireland., Shifting Ownership in Ireland’s Private Rented Sector., 2017).
A close and trusted relationship with plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and general workhorses are worthy investments. A difficult cost to anticipate without the use of hindsight and precedent, it must nonetheless be considered when setting rents.
Before profits can be redirected, taxes need to be budgeted for. As with most taxes in Ireland what you pay is dependent on your personal circumstances. Net rental income is taxed at either 20% or 40% and due every year on the 31 October. Planning and organization will prove your best tools in minimizing the amount due. Keep every receipt!
Here is a list of expenses that you can offset against your taxable profits:
a) PRTB Registration of €90
b) Wear and Tear maintenance is deductible to the point where the property is in a livable standard, including furnishings and fittings, and essential repairs and maintenance
c) Advertising and Management Fees
d) Legal and Accounting Fees
e) Insurance premiums
Trust is one of the more critical and intangible considerations. It can either prove to be an invaluable asset or an endless liability. Your tenant will directly impact the costs you will incur, either directly or indirectly. Providing your tenant with the opportunity to invest themselves into their home will make them happier and therefore more likely to remain. Data would indicate that there is a trend towards longer-term tenancies. 25% of agreements now longer than 12 months, up from 15% in 2017 (Residential Tenancies Board., Rent Index., 2018).
Besides the exceptional cases of moving country or county, your tenant will continue to provide you with income as long as they are content with their conditions.
It may seem strange to see profit listed as a cost for landlords. However, when calculating a breakeven point, you must include a cost for the time and stress incurred. It is essential to appropriately research the target market. Guidelines indicate it is inadvisable for renters to pay more than 40% of their income on rent (EY DKM, Rent Affordability in the Irish Residential Market, 2018).
Being a landlord in Ireland can be a thankless job that is sometimes vilified. However, there is a vital service provided that supports the country and those living in it. Your unseen work and risk-balanced consistently will allow you to maintain a profit. Alongside, also allowing for good people to turn your property into a home.
The job of building a relationship with a tenant begins the first day you show them around. When a renter is choosing a new place to live, how they feel about a potential landlord can count for a lot. It counts for even more when it comes time for tenants to decide whether to stay or go. And if they’ve kept up their end of the bargain by being clean, quiet, and reliable with their payments, you’ll probably want to make sure to keep them around.
Establish a good relationship on move-in day
One of the best times to establish a good rapport with your tenants is on move-in day. Renters will remember the help you offered on that stressful day, and they know they can count on you in the event of a problem and for any questions they might have.
How to help
To come up with ways to welcome incoming tenants, put yourself in their shoes. It’s going to be an exhausting couple of days of unpacking boxes and arranging furniture. What will they need the most during that time that doesn’t involve too much time or effort? Here are a few options for a complete welcome package.
Make sure your tenant is set up for rent payments
This is something you should take care of before move-in day, just to make sure your tenants don’t have too many other arrangements to make. As soon as your tenant has been accepted and paid their deposit, reach out to them to organise if they need to connect their bank account, credit card, or debit card or if it will be cash for quick and easy payments. If they haven’t gotten set up by move-in day, include a friendly reminder in their welcome package outlining how future payments will be made.
Get them familiar with their new neighbourhood
After all, they haven’t just chosen your building – they’ve chosen your part of the city. Your tenant’s welcome package should include a list of nearby banks, grocery stores, post offices, doctor’s offices, pharmacies, haircutters, dry cleaners, petrol stations, childcare and pet care services – anything a tenant might need on a day-to-day basis. With your help, they’ll know where to go in a pinch without spending too much time Googling.
This list can go beyond basic services, too. Talk to some popular local restaurants, bars, shops and entertainment venues about supplying coupons to include in your tenant’s welcome package. This tells your tenant that they can come to you for suggestions about where to go when they have free time.
Make their first week easy with a few basic supplies
If you rent a single-family home, make sure to tell new tenants a little bit about their new neighbors and even facilitate an introduction if you know them well. Show tenants that you’re not just operating a building – you’re building a community.
Allowing Pets in Rental Properties – What Are The Advantages
Most pet owners consider their pet as family, and won’t even consider an apartment that would require them to give their beloved animal up. When you think about how many potential tenants are looking for a rental property that will accept pets, it may be worth your while to welcome furry, four-legged creatures. Take a look at our guide outlining the benefits of allowing pets in your rental property.
Pros to allowing pets in rental properties
There are several positives to establishing a pet-friendly property:
Market value determines the amount you can set your rent. By allowing pets in rentals (large dogs in particular) especially when very few properties in your neighborhood are pet-friendly, you may be able to command a higher rent. At the very least, it could give you a leg up on the competition if a decision comes down to your property and a similar one which doesn’t allow pets. Check out this article on landlords charging for pet fees.
The more a tenant considers an abode their home, the more likely they are to renew a lease. Certainly, settling in with a pet can make a rental feel like a permanent residence. Additionally, The Balance points out that it can be harder for pet owners to find alternate dwellings that will take both them and their pet. So allowing pets equals longer tenure.
Larger pool of applicants
Pet ownership is at an all-time high. If your rental property is marketed towards a younger market, there’s an even higher likelihood that a pet is part of the package. Allowing pets attracts more tenants to your property and gives you more tenants to choose from, so you can find the best fit.
Responsible pet owners are more likely to be responsible tenants
As we all know, taking care of a pet requires a lot of time and attention. What does this mean? There is a likelihood that behavior will translate into renters treating your property with the same amount of respect and energy.
Decreased chance of unknown pets
Tenants are more likely to be upfront about their pets if you allow them from the start. You’ll have fewer instances of tenants sneaking pets onto the property and will be aware of the type and number of pets living on-site.
As outlined above, allowing pets in your rental property has numerous benefits. Higher rent. Longer Tenure. Larger pool of applicants. Respoinsible pet owners are more likely to be responsible tenants. Decreased chance of unknown pets.
Your move to a new home involves so many important activities that all count towards your success, and it’s not always so obvious how time-consuming each activity is.
You find yourself scouring through property ads, applying for as many as possible with the same cut and paste story, chasing for responses and hoping to hear something good.
There are tons of documents to get together for the rental application: references, ID verification, salary/banking documents. It can take a lot of time to get it all prepared.
You take time off work to go to viewings, organise housemates, prepare to pay a deposit and rent in advance, go through security checks – all before you’ve even got a solid offer!
Basically, searching for your next home involves a lot more than checking property websites ten times every day and resending the same message over and over again.
In a competitive rental marketplace there may be thousands of views on just one ad, so you can imagine what the landlord or property manager’s inbox looks like with hundreds of enquiries.
The ideal situation is to stand out from the crowd, being selected for the home you want. Whether you’re an experienced renter or a first-timer, the best advice for you to take on board is to be exceptionally organised – and a really great way to help you do that is to prepare a Tenant CV in advance of your search.
What is a Tenant CV?
A Tenant CV works in the same way as your standard CV, but instead of searching for employment opportunities you’re searching for your dream home. It’s an easy-to-read document that shows off information a landlord would need to know. For example who you are, what kind of accommodation you’re looking for, as well as any amenities you might need.
The idea is to create a Tenant CV once and then share it directly with landlords/agencies, which takes some frustration out of the process for you!
What difference will a Tenant CV make?
Using a Tenant CV not only makes your own life easier, but it also offers some relief to the landlord. Imagine it from their perspective. Sifting through hundreds of emails from eager applicants, trying to find the right fit. Completing a rental application with a beautifully formatted and detailed Tenant CV straight away lets the landlord see what you’re all about and that you have all the important documents organised, meaning you can both avoid having to go through a tedious back-and-forth email conversation and get straight to the point.
When you start building your profile, the important thing is to focus on you and what you want! The Good Home Report has found that 73% of people who are happy with their home are also happy in general. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your happiness when it comes to the place you live, work, and relax. If you’re not satisfied with your rented home, you’re more than likely going to end up back at square one. Back on the property ad sites trying to find something you actually like.
So when you’re creating a Tenant CV, be as specific as possible when describing your ideal living arrangement. Even if that sounds ambitious, including more detail will bring you one step closer to finding your dream home. Doing this helps potential landlords realise that you would be perfect for their property, that you would look after it, and ideally stay for a long time!
What kind of information will be a part of the Tenant CV?
The best Tenant CV’s for a rental application include:
A little bit about you – who you are and what you’re looking for!
Your tenancy history – landlords will look for any tenancy history so they can establish your character and trustworthiness
Your employment history – this lets the landlord know you’re capable of paying the rent
What you’re looking for – indicate your preferred house type, commute options, amenities and qualities (i.e., garden or en-suite etc.)
References – Real people who can give you a vote of confidence and are happy to be contacted
Optional verification information. – You may be asked for photo ID (passport/ driver’s license)
These are all the kind of things a landlord will ask you for at some point in the application process. Showing them that you’re already prepared will be a pleasant surprise! The biggest take-away from this list is that sharing all of this information serves a purpose. It’s a way to form a solid foundation between you and potential landlords from the outset.
I’ve made my tenant CV, what happens next?
That’s great! Now the fun begins. When a CV status reaches strength level of ‘good’ or higher it’s ready to be shared with landlords and agencies. Users also have the option to share it with a rental application via email, WhatsApp and more. Your information is accessible only by you until you choose for your profile to be visible within the database.
HomeHak allows you to store your Tenant CV information securely so you can start the application process with confidence. If the time comes for you to start looking for a new home, don’t worry. Just update your profile with any new preferences and attach it to your next application – simple!
The tenants you choose have a significant effect on the success of the investment property you manage or own. Read our guide to learn more about the steps you can take to maintain a happy and positive relationship with your tenants.
Many of us have experienced the financial burden and time spent resolving bad tenancies. For those agents and homeowners who are lucky to avoid this, there are ways to minimise the risk of it occurring. There are many quality tenants out there, but it can take patience to find them. If you take extra consideration to search for and choose the right tenant now, you can save time and alleviate stress in the future.
For many, an ideal tenant is one who respects the property and consistently pays the rent on time. This is an excellent start, but what about landing those top-quality tenants that give you complete peace of mind? These are the tenants that make the property a worthy and stress-free investment, and the ones we have valuable, uncomplicated and rewarding relationships with. These are the ‘Happy Tenants’. They exist and are looking to rent a home. The secret to finding these tenants is looking for candidates that really suit the property.
The Happy Tenant: who are they?
A Happy Tenant is the right tenant for the right property. This extends beyond the textbook description of a tenant that follows the law as set out by your governing legislation. A happy tenant is someone who has a good quality of life with the property they live in as a contributing factor.
Consider this scenario
You have an applicant named John, he has a perfect rental history, excellent references and the rent cost is only 30% of his salary. He also has a large pet dog, but his references specify that as an upstanding tenant, there have not been any issues. John has applied for a property 1.5 hours commute from his work without a backyard.
As an agent/homeowner, you are looking for an excellent tenant for a long-term tenancy of ideally a minimum of 4 years.
Is there a risk?
John certainly sounds like a top candidate with a rental history and the income to demonstrate he can pay the rent and look after the property. But is he the most suitable? There are many variables to consider when finding the right tenant. In this case, you are looking for someone in the long term. Someone who needs to travel 3 hours every day for work and owns a large dog is not the best tenant for this property without a backyard. Will this lifestyle keep him happy? There is a risk that John might not stay in the property for long when you consider the physiological and psychological needs of humans and pets.
The ideal tenant can be anyone; they can have pets, they can be a first-time renter, students, working professionals, families etc. A pet owner could be a perfect tenant, as having a pet takes responsibility and they are likely looking for a long term home It comes down to whether they want to and can make a home in the property. We will explore why this is important below.
It is true, the right tenant can make a major difference to how the tenancy carries out, and how the investment performs. Just like a satisfied worker who loves their job, a happy tenant is someone who respects their environment and will go beyond the basic requirements to maintain, preserve and improve it. This is the difference between the people that consider their rental a property, and others who consider it a home. Here’s a closer look at some of the benefits of ideal tenants:
Re-letting a property is time-consuming and costly. Long term tenancies minimise the time and costs involved in managing vacates, and the surprises that may come with them. They also lessen advertising and re-letting costs, along with the downtime from the property being vacant. As a result, long term tenants provide sustained financial security for the homeowner. In addition, minimal turnaround reduces the risk of bad tenants, and wear and tear caused by regular move-ins/outs.
Property Maintenance & Upkeep
Tenants who see their rental as a home share a common interest with agents and homeowners to maintain the property. This means reporting maintenance issues in a timely manner before they escalate into something that will cause a higher financial burden.
A good relationship results in cognitive trust, respect and practical communication. Overall, it makes the whole rental partnership easier. If you have a strong relationship with your tenant, contractual needs and etiquette will be mutually enforced and respected.
In summary, finding the right tenant will save you time, money and hassle. Not only will it make your life easier, but it will have an invaluable impact on the life of the tenant.
How do you find Happy Tenants?
You have the power to find the right tenant when leasing a property. A tenant CV will help you determine what an applicant is looking for, or you can ask questions. You need to determine whether the property you are leasing matches the needs of the potential tenant. Some questions you may want to consider:
Are there any specific amenities they require?
Are there any specific attributes they are looking for in a property? E.g. Do they need a backyard or secured garage?
Can you accommodate for any of the things they need that you don’t currently have on offer?
How close is their workplace? Will they have a long commute?
Find a suitable solution
Targeting multitudes of candidates is counter-productive when you consider the amount of time it takes filtering through applications to find the best one. You could instead save time and find someone that is most suitable by reading their tenant CV. Another way for agencies to find great tenants in the area is to form relationships with local businesses; word of mouth and referrals are effective ways to find interest locally.
How to figure out tenant suitability
A great indicator of tenant suitability is to find out how close the property is to someone’s workplace. Let’s revisit our applicant John: John has submitted a tenant CV, his CV specifies that he currently has a large dog, but it is going back to his ex-wife in a month. It also states that although his office is located in the city, he works remotely and is looking for somewhere further out of town to suit his lifestyle.
Suddenly, with a little more information John seems like a very suitable tenant. Thanks to John’s tenant CV and your extra effort to search for information, you have found someone that is an excellent fit and is likely to stay for the long term.
A tenant that makes the effort to put together a CV shows that they care about finding their ideal home. It shows they are responsible and accommodating as they have taken action to make your life easier by providing you with the information you need. If they provide references that are already verified by a third party, this is a useful indication of whether they are trustworthy and organised. It is difficult to truly know what type of tenant someone will be from an application form; so reading a CV can help verify a candidate’s needs and whether they are suitable.
Agents and homeowners have a difficult job in managing properties, but they have the capacity to make it easier. This can be done if you find a Happy Tenant that loves coming home to your property and treats it as their own. It’s business – According to Forbes and many business leaders, becoming more customer-focused leads to a profitable organisation. If you take a professional and empathetic approach to tenant needs you can develop a loyal, successful and long-term relationship.
Requesting Tenant CVs is the smartest way to find great tenants – Find out why!
Renting in Ireland – What is the tenant’s true cost?
The price of rent can represent the tip of the iceberg when renting in Ireland. From utilities and furniture to Netflix subscriptions and bin charges, we have you covered with everything you need to appropriately budget your first few months in your new home.
Before you can start your new life in your new home you must first identify and secure your desired apartment or house against high demand, with vacancy rates tipping at just 1.31% across Ireland (Savills Ireland., Shifting Ownership in Ireland’s Private Rented Sector., 2017). Rental properties can receive thousands of views once posted on rental sites and you will need to brace yourself amongst the wave of applications you will be sidling alongside.
First and foremost, and most costly, will be your monthly rent to be paid in advance of each month. The considerable cost of renting in Ireland is no secret with a National Rent Index recognizing the standardized average rent as €1,122 in 2018, an increase of 7.5% on the previous year (Residential Tenancies Board., Rent Index., 2018). This will no doubt represent the most pivotal variable in your ability to live independently.
In addition to your first month’s rent, you will have a sizably additional cost in your deposit. This is taken as collateral by the landlord for any potential costs they will need to suffer that we cover in our Guide to Deposits. Your deposit typically reflects one month’s rent and will not be returned until you leave the premises, contract fulfilled.
All your bags are packed, you’re on your way as John Denver once said, but he failed to mention the back and forth trips on moving day, ferrying a seemingly endless amount of possessions, clothes, jigsaws, and any other rainy day items. GoCar provides excellent prices on cars and vans ideal for such an occasion.
No matter the mode, persistent ‘one final car-full’ trips will take their toll on your petrol. Be careful you don’t blow the deposit on day one with any reckless transportation of big bulky items with sharp edges that can dent your new home’s walls and its deposit!
If you manage to keep the leg of the chair away from the walls on move-in day, you may be lucky enough to complete the entire set without so much as a mark incurred.
While most accommodations will come fully furnished, you will quickly discover a table and four chairs may not suffice. Bed stands, dressing tables, armoires, bureaus, coffers, and davenports, may not be at the very top of your list, but every trinket needs somewhere to rest upon.
Due in no small part to their affordable value and effectively Swedish flat-pack features, Ikea is a renter’s best friend. While its home just off the m50 is a forestry of flat-pack furniture, there will be many local providers and charity shops. Or you could peruse Donedeal for an opportune bargain, with an hour’s sanding and painting to transform any antique.
You will quickly find that your food costs are particularly flexible. Weekly shops can cost as low as €30 with stringent restraint, but they can also soar considerably higher without careful monitoring. Your first step in reducing your shopping bill requires ditching the costly takeaway and cooking your own meals.
Aldi and Lidl are the unequivocal champions of value while the other end of the spectrum will find significantly higher prices in Marks & Spencers or boutique groceries. Jalapeno Peppers can be sought for less than euro in certain more palatable retailers or rising to a far spicier €7 for example.
6. Renting in Ireland Utilities
Four walls by themselves will not do much in terms of keeping the heat in. Aside from brief weeks of summer bliss, our other three seasons prove the need for comfortable heating and lighting. Gas and electric bills are ingrained in the Irish psyche due to generational berating with regards to a certain immersion. However, it is worth shopping around and identifying the best deal for you.
Consider other utilities like your phone, internet, and bin charges. Again, shopping around is an effective method in quelling creeping costs that can erode your pocket.
Aside from sleeping and eating, your home should primarily be used for living in! Life is to be lived beyond necessity! When budgeting, make a realistic allocation for entertainment and hobbies such as Netflix, painting supplies, videogames, or gym memberships.
While drafting your entertainment budget it would also be worthwhile to make an extensive list of low-cost or free activities that you can participate in, for further bootstrapping.
Location, location, location are the three most important words when it comes to accommodation. The goldilocks zone would be located a short walk between your place of work, family, and friends. Realistically however you will be spending some amount on public transport, petrol, or most cost-efficiently a bicycle.
The more convenient the location, the higher the cost, as seen when comparing standardised average rents in Dublin (€1,620) to outside Dublin (€1,149) (Residential Tenancies Board., Rent Index., 2018). Thankfully we can ensure you that there are more places to live than just Dublin!
Cars will get you furthest fastest, but this convenience has a higher cost. Insurance, maintenance, tax, and fuel, combined with the price of parking (if no on-site parking is available), can quickly reach untenable costs.
Keeping your worldly possessions kept safe and away from harm has its price. Unfortunately in Ireland the cost of insuring your home and car is considerable and rising. In the last decade alone, the average cost of motor insurance has risen by 42% (Central Bank of Ireland., Private Motor Insurance Report., 2019).
Much like utilities, shop around to obtain the best deal. Hours spent on the phone to multiple brokers and agents are grating and tiresome, but this is the price that must be paid to improve your bottom line.
At the end of the month, it may be difficult to categorize any of your remaining income as savings. This is a particular issue in Ireland with 1 in 10 people spending over 60% of their income on rent (Social Justice Ireland., National Social Monitor., 2019). This is why it is best to categorize your savings at the start of the month while drafting your budget. Savings should be prioritized in line with other costs no matter how tempting they are to shave and spend.
A few hundred euros each month could be deemed an immaterial amount in times of less restraint. However, month by month, your savings investment will slowly but surely build and be there for you in times of need or to finally purchase your own home so that you can bid farewell to your rent and welcome in a mortgage.
Renting in Ireland is undoubtedly a costly endeavour. The playing field is rarely even, and any number of unseen variables can capsize even the best-made plans. However, with careful planning and foresight, you can navigate and mitigate almost all risks. Invest your own time and effort into reducing your monthly costs. This will allow for greater investment in the things you would rather capitalize upon, such as your future!
Online rental scams are on the rise. Because of this, it is more important than ever to be able to spot these scammers before you fall into their trap.
Scammers know that tenants often do not have time or knowledge about how to find a place to rent, so they prey on those who don’t know any better.
Accommodation Fraud – Some figures
According to Gardaí, approximately 500 cases of accommodation fraud were reported between the years of 2019 and 2021. 72% of cases affected individuals under the age of 35 and 42% affected those under 25.
Since 2019 in Ireland, criminals conducting rental fraud have taken approximately €900,000. In 2020, in the UK last year, has been an increase of 71% in the number of rental fraud reports, meaning 1 in 50 ads were scams. This indicates that rental cybercrime is becoming more popular than ever.
What can we do to prevent accommodation fraud?
Rental fraud is a large threat to tenants looking for a place to live. In particular, students starting their rental journeys may be at risk as they may not be aware of the dangers that are out there.
Scammers use similar tactics over and over again, which means it is possible to spot the signs. We compiled a list of these warning signs that will help you identify rental scams before any damage is done. Forewarned is forearmed. Tenants, prepare to spot the warning signs before it costs you your data and your money.
Accommodation Fraud – Warning Signs
Cybercrime researchers say that rental fraudsters seem genuine because they mimic real landlords. They often use pre-scripted emails and a range of “persuasion techniques”. If you feel suspicious about something, more times than not you’re probably right!
Here are some examples of how scammers have tried to fool renters before:
Too Good to Be True – This is the most obvious sign of a scam. Perhaps the pictures show a beautifully furnished property, more bedrooms and facilities than usual, and the rent is surprisingly low
Landlord Living Abroad – The scammer claims to have a property in Ireland but they themselves are living abroad. They might send a long email explaining the set up of the property, but they won’t be able to meet you beforehand. They request a deposit and say that someone will meet you at the property afterwards.
Requests Deposit Urgently – The scammer allows viewings at a property and asks individuals for a deposit to secure the arrangement. They may create a sense of urgency around this, to seal the deal as soon as possible. Soon after, the scammer disappears leaving everyone short.
Fake Keys – In rare cases a renter may be given keys after settling a deposit, only to arrive and find that the keys do not work.
Address Fraud – A scammer may list a property on an ad site that is already being rented/owned by someone else. Again, the scammer requests a deposit up front. Later on, the victim arrives at the destination and learns that the address does not exist. Some may find that the address does exist, but is owner occupied by someone completely different.
Spelling/ Grammar – Property ads with lots of spelling and grammar mistakes may also indicate accommodation fraud. (Note that this doesn’t mean that every ad with spelling errors is fraudulent!)
No Background Checks/ Unsecure Payments – A property is offered to you without any requests for your information, proof of ID, references etc. The fraudster may contact you via social media, asking for untraditional payments via PayPal, cryptocurrency etc.
How to Avoid Rental Scams
Recognising the above examples is the first step to avoiding a nasty situation with rental fraud. To save yourself any further worry, take into account the following advice.
Trusted Payments – Only submit payments via trusted systems. If there is a request to pay a deposit via PayPal, iTunes gift cards, Western Union transfer or cryptocurrency, disengage immediately. These methods are usually popular with fraudsters as it can be difficult to reverse transactions.
Messaging Apps – Be wary of those who only communicate via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or other social media messaging platforms. The Gardaí advise that renters should be mindful of unsolicited contacts, especially if they seem to press individuals with ‘one-time offers’ or deals.
Social Media – Be especially cautious of rental ads on social media, such as Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree etc. Not all the rental ads on these platforms are scams, but it is where a lot of them seem to pop up. In many cases the scammer will use the same photos and details found on residential letting sites, so it looks realistic.
Check all Keys – Be sure to check that all keys given to you are in working order before you commit to anything.
Legit Address – Make sure that the property actually exists by checking Google Maps before settling a deposit. Try to gauge the situation in front of you by comparing similar properties for price, location etc.
Who to Contact
If you believe that you have been a victim of a scam, call your bank or financial institution immediately. You should also notify the Gardaí of your situation.
When browsing online, if you come across anything that looks suspicious, go ahead and report it. Ad sites usually have methods for handling sceptical property listings so it’s relatively easy to do so.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) in Ireland can be contacted to report rental fraud here.
Within the HomeHak portal, report any suspicions or poor experiences by clicking the “Questions” link at the top right of the screen.
HomeHak Data Protection
As a community, we can all make efforts to improve the level of trust amongst one another. Landlords and renters both want to liaise with someone reliable, who they can depend upon!
HomeHak Tenant CVs use a wide range of security measures to ensure your data is safe:
Uploaded documents are stamped with a ‘HomeHak’ watermark, reducing the chance of identity theft. Users can choose specific persons to share their documents with and for limited time periods. Additionally, when a tenant shares a document, they can track who has viewed it in the tenant dashboard.
Landlords and tenants using HomeHak services have the opportunity to verify their ID with Stripe. Stripe verification takes just 3 minutes and prevents the sharing of identity documents.