While an empty unit seems like money down the drain a bad tenant can be more costly. Bad tenants often result in extremely costly evictions – often costing as much as having a vacancy for two or three months. Make the effort to screen tenants thoroughly with these tenant screening tips.
Finding the right tenants as quickly as possible is essential to ensure that you don’t lose money on your property.
Tenant Screening Tips
- VET ALL APPLICANTS: Your tenant knows you can't do much if he or she is late paying you, so rent goes to the bottom of the list. Knowing how long they have worked in their current job, what accounts they are paying for major bills out of, and their credit history is obviously important. But vetting isn't an exact science. For example: Jennifer is a single parent of two having just gone through a divorce. She does have excellent credit but is now responsible for a variety of other bills in her life. Amy on the other hand has had some credit issues in her past but has shown a vast improvement, and she has held down a high paying job for 4 years with no evictions or late payments. Who would you pick? Either candidate presents some risks, but Amy is the better choice as she is on the way up, while Jennifer is facing some potential immediate challenges. Vetting applicants also involves using targeting sites to advertise for applicants, such as www.zillow.com. Restricting your listings to rental-specific sites will help you find reputable tenants. The more you target, the more you may find the tenant you are looking for.
- REPUTATION: Everyone wants to rent from the best landlords in the best locations. Make sure that you do what you can to keep tenants for the long term by providing excellent care and two-way communications – not just during the leasing process, but throughout their lease.
For example, assisting lessees with turning on their utilities or recommending moving companies and reserving a couple of parking spots for them on moving day helps the moving process become smooth and stress-free. Such little details will help your reputation significantly.
In addition, you should pay attention to the culture within your building. Do what you can to make it a pleasant environment that your best tenants want to live in.
Being a landlord can be tough at times, but finding and retaining great tenants goes a long way to making things easier.
Looking for more info? Read: Tenant Screening: Important Factors for Landlords and Tenants During the Rental Process