Impeccable credit history, positive references, the ability to pay on time – every landlord dreams of a tenant with these types of qualities.
While it can be difficult to determine which rental applicant will exhibit these characteristics initially, there are several ways you can weed out potentially problematic tenants to find the best person for your rental property.
From performing in-depth background checks to spotting red flags, here are 11 tips to help you find the perfect tenant.
- Attract your ideal tenant
If you already have an idea of who your ideal tenant is (i.e. students or a young professional), advertise in a location where they are most likely to spend their time. This could be anywhere that aligns with their specific lifestyle – whether it’s a trendy cafe or a local university.
Also, be sure to advertise your property as much as you can. Having a larger pool of applicants to choose from will only increase the likelihood of finding a great tenant.
- Evaluate credit history
If you want a tenant who pays their rent on time, run a credit check before you approve an application. Someone with a good credit history has proven that they’re capable of handling finances in a responsible manner. Generally speaking, the better the credit history, the more likely your tenant is to make rent payments on time every month.
- Verify affordability
While tenant credit checks are crucial, they should be part of a comprehensive referencing process. For extra peace of mind, you want to make sure that the tenant can afford to pay rent. If the tenant is already financially responsible, income that amounts to at least three times the monthly rent should be sufficient.
- Determine whether they have a positive long-term outlook for job stability
While a tenant may be able to pay the rent right now, their ability to do so in the future is typically determined by their job stability. During the screening process, take a closer look at their employment history. Have they been at the same job for years, or do they switch positions often? If they bounce around from job to job, it could be indicative of an inability to hold down a steady job and paycheque.
- Perform thorough background checks
In order to learn more about the potential tenant, order a background check – which will give you a detailed report of the applicant’s past. Several companies offer tenant screening services for a fee and will provide you with information such an eviction history, criminal history, and various public records.
- Do some detective work
If you want to learn more about the personality of a prospective tenant, or verify any information provided on the rental application, turn to Google. You can find an astonishing amount of information by performing a simple online search and by checking out their social media platforms.
- Always check references
Calling previous landlords for a reference is one of the best ways to determine whether an applicant will make a good tenant. This will allow you to find out if they paid their rent on time, if they kept the property neat and tidy, or if they caused any problems. Be sure to ask how the tenant behaved and how he or she left the property upon moving out.
It’s also important to contact the tenant’s employer to ensure it’s a legitimate reference and to confirm any information they’ve disclosed on the application.
- Don’t ignore red flags
Most people won’t have a spotless record, but there are a number of red flags you simply can’t ignore. A history of evictions, lying on their application, or repeated late payments are generally warning signs that it’s time to move on to the next applicant.
- Take notice of how they follow through
Once potential renters take an interest in your property, pay attention to how well they follow through with the next steps. Did they submit their rental application quickly? Is the application missing any information? Do they respond to your emails or phone calls in a timely manner? The way in which they handle the application process may be a good indication of their sense of responsibility and ability to follow direction.
- Be picky
Don’t be afraid to be a bit picky when it comes to choosing a tenant. If you can’t find a tenant initially, hold out a little longer until you come across a more qualified applicant. After all, it’s far more costly to accept the wrong applicant than to spend a few more weeks finding the right tenant.
- Don’t rush
Even if an applicant’s credit history is spotless and they appear to be financially stable, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be the perfect tenant. Always listen to your gut; if something feels off, don’t be afraid to ask the tenant further questions before signing on the dotted line.
No tenant is going to be 100 percent perfect, but it is possible to find the right person for your property. While it may be financially beneficial to rent to a less-than-desirable tenant, it’s always better to have your unit vacant a little bit longer if it means finding the right person.