What Makes a Great Tenant?
Anyone with a property will know that if you want to protect your investment it is essential that you are able to find high-quality and reliable tenants. Every landlord wants to find a tenant who pays on time, keeps the property clean and tidy, and does not breach the terms of the rental agreement. However, good tenants are hard to find, and you need to know exactly what to look for if you want to find AND KEEP great tenants.
Landlords need to take a business approach when it comes to finding the right tenant. After all, the value of your real estate portfolio depends on the quality of tenant you have. The last thing any landlord wants is a tenant who devalues the property and does not respect the conditions of their lease agreement.
5 Ways to Find Great Tenants
Here are five ways of finding and keeping great tenants:
1. Advertising In the Right Places
Make sure you take out ads in the right places. The National Association of Residential Property Managers advises that you should always advertise online on sites including rentalhomesplus.com and rentals.com. Using online platforms means you can widen the reach of your ad, getting as many people as possible to see it.
For good quality tenants, you should avoid sites such as Craigslist as you could be caught out by scammers or tenants who are not entirely honest about their background and rental history. Zillow is free to list on, and is one of the most used sites by tenants looking for properties.
Advertising should include:
- Online ads
- Fliers distributed locally
- Ads on social media sites
- Word of mouth
- Ads with property management companies
The ad should include all the relevant details of the property including the location, neighborhood, number and size of rooms, rent payable, and any special features of the property. Good tenants always want to see as many details relating to the property as possible, alongside good quality photos.
2. Outsourcing Your Property Management
One of the most important elements of securing a great tenant is to ensure that they are properly and thoroughly screened. Their history will confirm whether they are likely to be good tenants. Set the standards you want to and do not be afraid to set them high, especially if you want good quality tenants who you feel will look after your property and be reliable with rent payments.
Outsourcing the property management means that your property manager will deal with everything that comes with screening tenants for you. They will apply any standards you have to ensure that they secure the tenant that meets your requirements.
Some landlords have the following standards they require from tenants:
-No prior convictions
-Good credit score
-References from previous landlord
-Minimum income requirement
Having boundaries like those mentioned above means prospective tenants can be screened quickly with a standardized approach. Property managers will not only screen tenants, but they will also show them around the property, arrange viewings, discuss terms and meet the tenant in person to make sure they seem reliable and dependable. Landlords who use the services of property management companies will not have to do the due diligence themselves, as the company will undertake the hard work for them.
Some landlords use the services of companies that provide screening reports. These reports provide you with information relating to the tenant including their employment history, rental history, and details of any criminal convictions.
3. Legal Agreements
Once you have found the right tenant you should ensure that the correct legal documentation is entered into so that the rights and responsibilities of both parties are clearly outlined. The legal agreement, usually a lease, will ensure that the tenant is fully aware of the conditions of their occupancy, and acts as a form of legal protection for the landlord and tenant.
An important element of the legal agreement is pricing. You need to price it right so that you capture the best tenants. If you price it too high then you could potentially alienate tenants, and if you price too low you might be losing out on money. A good property management company will be able to provide you with accurate pricing information relating to your property. They will also ensure that any deposit is collected and secured, and the rental payments are made on time.
4. Keep your Property In Good Condition
If you want to attract the best tenants, then you need to have an attractive property. If your property is advertised with old carpets, aged appliances, and peeling paint it will put off tenants who are looking for somewhere they think looks nice and comfortable.
There are cost-effective ways to upgrade your property without spending a lot of money, for example, giving the property a fresh coat of paint is an easy way to freshen it up. The easiest way to make your property look attractive to potential tenants is to make sure it is clean. If you do not have the time to give it a clean then use a cleaner who will give it a thorough clean before photos are taken, or before a tenant comes around to view it.
Other minor upgrades include:
-Remove limescale marks on sinks
-Replace any appliances that no longer work
-Clean the windows
If you use the services of a property management company they will have quick and effective ways of dealing with any repair and maintenance issues as they arise.
The key to securing and retaining good tenants is communication. As a landlord your rental is your business – you are providing a service. Most landlords want to keep good tenants for as long as possible, and one of the best ways of doing this is to ensure that you keep the lines of communication open and treat them with respect.
Take the following steps so that your tenant feels valued:
-Provide the tenant with a welcome pack that includes details of the property and the local area.
-Give the tenant your contact details, or the details of your property management company so they know who to contact if they have any property issues.
-Be professional with them at all times
-Be responsive to them – if they have maintenance requests then deal with them as quickly and efficiently as you can.
-Take good photos of the condition of the property before they move in. These photos are useful when documenting the condition of the property.
-Respect the privacy of your tenant and give them notice before entering the property to carry out work or do checks.
As long as you do all the above you can find great tenants and keep them. Renting a property is a big decision for both parties, so it is important there is mutual respect from both sides. This together with good communication will ensure that each party knows what is expected of them and they adhere to the agreement in place.