‘Finding A Tenant’ Guide For Landlords- How To Find Tenants

Are you struggling to find a tenant or simply looking for the most efficient methods of finding a tenant? Then this might be the article for you.

If you’re reading this guide, it probably means you’re trying to find tenants without the help of a traditional high-street letting agent. Wise decision, and you’ve come to the right place for guidance.

A common misconception is that letting agents provide us with a skill set which can’t be duplicated by the average person/landlord. We assume that they have an advantage over us by having all the trade tools and resources. In reality, that;s just a smokescreen perception. All agents provide us with is a service which we don’t know enough about to confidently duplicate. But when you break it down, it’s not really that difficult or time-consuming to learn the essentials and more, which will enable us to find and manage tenants ourselves… for a fraction of the cost!! In fact, the methods I discuss in this guide won’t cost you more than £60. Now let’s compare that to prices the average high-street agent charges.

I’ve seen agents charge between 8%-15% of the rental income for their services, depending on the type of service. The most basic service agents’ offer is typically a “tenant-only” service, which is where an agent will find a tenant and leave the management role up to the landlord.

Let me show you how the figures stack up with a real example:

Let’s assume an agent has found me a tenant willing to sign a 12 month agreement. The rent is £1000 per month. Based on the lower end 8% fee, an agent would charge £960 as a fixed annual fee for their service. On top of the regular service charge, most agents charge a renewal fee, which means I would need to pay an additional annual fee if I wish to keep the same tenant after the 12 months expires. As you can see, the cost can easily escalate, and it usually does.

Over the past 5 years I haven’t used a single high-street agent, and my cost for finding tenants has been £0 – £100.

So, it’s your call, you can either spend £1000 on an agent, or learn how to do it for £0 – £100. It’s a no-brainer for me. Remember, a buy-to-let investment is a business, so it’s about keeping costs down when and where it makes sense.

How to find tenants… efficiently and cost-effectively!

Here’s a few ways landlords can maximize the chances of finding tenants efficiently and cost-effectively, consequently minimizing void periods and saving a pile of cash!


Before even starting the finding process, you need a strategy.

Well, not quite a strategy, we’re not invading a county here. But you will need to determine what it is you’re actually offering and how you’re going to deliver it.

It doesn’t matter if you’re leading the search party to find tenants, or whether you’re passing the responsibility onto a letting agent, you still need to ensure any marketing material put out there is appropriate and effective.

Referencing / Viewings

Generating enquiries is only the first step of filling your vacant property, and it’s definitely NOT the most important step.

Finding “good tenants” is key, because bad ones will chew through your time and profits, and quite possibly sink your entire investment. And trust me, there’s no shortage of bad tenants.

It doesn’t matter how or where you source a tenant, whether it be through an experienced local high-street letting agent or whether you take matters into your own (un)experienced hands, landlords are ALWAYS prone to falling victim to rogue tenants. The best we can do is minimise the risks, and something we should all be doing. Thorough tenant referencing is crucial, and that truly begins at the viewing stage.


Before letting your property and taking viewings, there are just a few bits you need to take care of…

9 Comments- join the conversation...

Guest Avatar
Angela Kyle 12th May, 2014 @ 10:27

Hi - couldn't help a wry smile when reading your blog - I'm a prospective tenant who, due to marital breakdown, is now trying to find a local rental property - and what a nightmare it is. Over 30 years married and living in our lovely little house (now sold) which is ideally situated, I am not a young thing but a fully responsible, working lady with a small elderly dog. Is any landlord interested in renting to me while I have my four legged friend? No, they are not. I would love to meet a landlord, they can get to know me and vice versa but it's all done through the agents. Could write loads more but no space. Any advice please?

Guest Avatar
sunny 2nd June, 2014 @ 00:42

Hello Angela,

You can try these



all the best

Guest Avatar
Sach Daniels 11th November, 2014 @ 00:04

I am a Landlord and advertised my property in OpenRent. A company called Tenantbox contacted me. Do you or anyone reading this blog have experience with them. Would REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR FEEDBACK.
Thanks in advance.

Guest Avatar
Andrea 19th November, 2014 @ 12:07

Iam looking for a 2 bed flat to rent.

Guest Avatar
lin 13th December, 2014 @ 22:22

hi ,Landlord, is this true, DSS clients have to move into property first with no payment of rent or deposit before the DSS can start the process for them to get their housing benefit? Thank you

Guest Avatar
hillary 7th January, 2015 @ 13:14

i prefer tenants to pass thru agents bt nt direct to landloads

Guest Avatar
alan jones 6th March, 2015 @ 21:52

been there,when the going is good its a good business,when its bad it costs a fortune,i went on a plastering course,ive just plastered two rooms to a very good standard,much better than so called plasterers weve all employed,so get some new skills ans save some money.

totally had enough of dhss ,wrecked my place leaving thousands of pounds of damage,and this was family we took on and havent seen for years,another 6 weeks of work left,the law is totally for the tenants we have no rights,for sarters its costs me £500 for legal fees to get them out,so as a thank you present they wrecked my beautiful home,but i found out where there new address was ,so i have phoned all creditors ,bottom line is they owe £4000 on catalogue and utilities,so there is a god,and its certainly sweet phoning up,but has left a massive finiacal hole in my pocket,any thoughts

Guest Avatar
Laura 13th March, 2015 @ 12:55


I have searched high and low and I am desperate to find a suitable property in the Worthing area....

I am at university studying to be a teacher, my partner is a deputy head and he has two fab children (10+12) who stay alternate weekends. All fine so far? Well, in addition we have a 4 year old mixed breed dog. Yes, horror of horrors, a dog! I completely understand landlords issues with the furry beasts, they CAN be destructive and they CAN cause damage...however they don't ALL do this. I would be thrilled to meet a landlord who would take into consideration our professional roles, our dog's nature and excellent references from our current and prior landlords. Not to mention our willingness to pay additional deposits for the trouble of letting to a pet and for a professional cleaner to visit following our departure.

I am, I must add again, desperate. I have searched for days and there appears to be little or no flexibility when going through letting agents. I sincerely hope someone out there can see past the immediate concern and find the positives (you can charge us more MONEY!)

Guest Avatar
Abdul 25th March, 2015 @ 01:37

Hi all
This blog was a great help and I have now advertised my property with the DSS sites so I'm hoping for some good tenants.

If anyone's interested I Got a 3 bedroom house in Halifax, west Yorkshire for rent. DSS welcome and ill take pets.


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