Back to Blog

Finding a tenant: Self-management vs outsourcing

Posted 28/02/2024 by Reeds Rains
Categories: Landlords/Lettings
Couple using laptop

A successful let begins with finding the right tenant for your property. That’s someone who is not only able to afford the rent but is also a good fit for the property and the type and length of let you’d like.

While it’s certainly possible to do this yourself, it’s important to understand each of the steps that have to be carried out and the benefits of having a qualified agent handle it for you.

This is especially important if at some stage eviction is required, because if the right prescribed information isn’t given, you may struggle to let a tenant go, even if they aren’t paying the rent.

There are four key stages:

1. Advertising

The bigger your advertising reach, the better your chance of finding a good tenant quickly, and there’s no question that a qualified letting agent can cast a wider net than an individual landlord.

Of course, you can advertise on social media platforms and in local press, but most good quality tenants use the major lettings portals – Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket.

Tenants will also tend to visit lettings branches in the local area to see whether there are any suitable new rentals that have not yet been advertised. And we find that they often like to discuss their requirements face to face – particularly those that are looking for a long-term home.

Remember also that savvy letting agents usually have a ‘waiting list’ of tenants, so are likely to be able to carry out some viewings right away and may even secure the ideal tenant on day one!

2. Carrying out viewings and assessing a prospective tenant’s suitability

This is an important part of the marketing process. Not only are you selling the property, but you’re also selling yourself as the landlord or property manager, while getting a feel for the tenant.

Viewings are a great opportunity to find out, face to face, about the tenant’s current living situation, their job, whether they have a partner who’s likely to move in at some point, how they like to spend their spare time, and so on. This stage allows you to make an assessment as to whether their circumstances, needs and preferences are a good match for your property.

You have to present yourself professionally and know how to ask the right questions without coming across as intrusive.

And bear in mind that if there’s a high level of response to the marketing and advertising, there might be multiple viewings for several days in a row, so consider whether you actually have the time to show the property yourself or it would be better for a qualified agent to do this for you.

3. Right to rent checks (England only)

Every occupier of the property – whether they’re named on the tenancy agreement or not – must be checked to make sure they have the legal right to be in the UK. So, if the prospective tenant seems suitable, the next step is to carry out a right to rent check.

If this is not done properly and someone is later found to be living in your property illegally, landlords could face a fine of up to £10,000 per tenant for a first offence and £20,000 for any subsequent offences, so it’s not something you can afford to get wrong.

Find out more about right to rent checks in our separate blog ‘New Right To Rent Checks Guidance for Landlords’.

4. Referencing

Once you have established that the tenant is legally able to rent in the UK, the final step is to carry out referencing checks to confirm that the property is affordable, and they’re likely to pay the full rent on time and treat the property well. The checks should include:

  • Proof of identity and address
  • A credit check – and you need to secure the tenant’s written permission to carry this out
  • A reference from their current employer, confirming their employment and salary (which should ideally be at least 2.5 times the rent)  
  • Their last 3 months’ bank statements, to help you assess affordability
  • A reference from their previous landlord

If you are doing this yourself, it’s advisable to use a third-party specialist company to ensure the checks are robust – not only for your own peace of mind, but also because they may be a condition of your Buy to Let mortgage. In addition, if you have to make an insurance claim for tenant damage, you may need to provide evidence that a full reference check was carried out.

For more information, read our article ‘Common Landlord mistakes | Not carrying out robust pre-tenancy checks’.


Even if you would prefer to manage the let yourself, you can still engage an agent to find and secure the tenant for you. Our tenant find own service includes:

  • Marketing, advertising and accompanied viewings
  • Vetting and referencing of tenants, including Right to Rent checks
  • Preparation and signing of the tenancy agreement
  • Access to our Landlord Portal, where you can access all your rental documentation and information 24/7
  • A monthly landlord newsletter


If you’d like to discuss our range of landlord services, you can find the contact details for your local Reeds Rains branch here.

Book a free property valuation

The Reeds Rains Content Marketing Team

Signup for Updates

Get the latest news from Reeds Rains direct to your inbox

Signup for Updates

Get the latest news from Reeds Rains direct to your inbox