One of the biggest regrets of experienced landlords, when they first started off, was not meeting and vetting prospective tenants themselves, according to a new survey.

The research by online lettings agency Upad found that 12 per cent of respondents regretted not taking the time for face-to-face evaluation, while 10 per cent said they failed to appreciate the value of tenant referencing checks.

When asked what one piece of advice they’d give to those starting off in the buy-to-let market, more than a one third of respondents cited meeting tenants as the most essential tip.

Upad founder James Davis said: “I’ve always promoted the value in getting to meet a prospective tenant face-to-face and the fact that almost a quarter of the landlords we questioned regret not investing the time in properly doing so, highlights what an important part of letting a property this is.

“There are many aspects of a prospective tenant’s character that can be confirmed via legal and financial checks, but traits such as punctuality, appearance and willingness to be honest and open, can only really be ascertained via a good old-fashioned face-to-face conversation.

“Indeed, our own data has previously demonstrated that over 90 per cent of tenants actually like to get to meet their landlord too so it’s a win:win situation which simply requires a small investment of your time.”

Upad’s research also found that 27 per cent of landlords felt that the best piece of advice they could give to a new landlord would be to do their sums and ensure they’re prepared for unforeseen financial circumstances.

Davis continued: “There’s no denying that the days of having enough spare cash to invest in an investment property and then sitting back to watch the rent roll in are, for most landlords at least, well and truly over. Issues relating to taxation, profitability and overall affordability, not to mention planning for unforeseen circumstances, play on all but the most nonchalant landlord’s minds.

“However, the fact that forging a genuine connection with tenants continues to stand above financial concerns for experienced landlords serves to demonstrate the extent to which investment in the buy-to-let market remains a long-term strategy, rather than simply a quick win.”

A recent poll by Simple Landlords Insurance found that nearly half of landlords are planning to keep up and keep in touch with tenants by sending a card or a gift to tenants this Christmas.