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UK landlords urged to carry out vital checks on tenants

Many are taking unnecessary risks in the current economic environment by failing to adequately check information, according to buy to let specialist Paragon Mortgages.

With unemployment and the general cost of living rising, and household budgets coming under increasing pressure there is more risk that tenants could run into arrears, the firm points out.

A comprehensive tenant assessment to verify identity, employment status, creditworthiness and financial history reduces the risk of the tenant defaulting on payments or absconding from the property without paying rent.

More than a quarter of landlords have experienced a tenant leaving without paying the rent yet nearly a third of landlords never carry out an assessment, research by the company has found.

A further 22% of landlords said that they only check new tenants occasionally. And 14% have been forced to evict tenants for failing to pay the rent.

'Tenants leaving a property without paying rent is a more common occurrence than people think and a large number of landlords will experience this problem at some point,' said John Heron, Paragon Mortgages' managing director.

'We could see a spike in the number of tenants bailing out from a property without paying rent in the current economic environment as unemployment rises and increasing numbers of households struggle with their finances,' he explained.

'Landlords wouldn't buy a property without making the necessary checks, so why would they let somebody rent a property without carrying out a comprehensive assessment first? Carrying out a tenant assessment for prospective tenants should be part of a landlord's everyday business plan,' he added.