While you want to fill rental spaces promptly, you also want good tenants who stay. Bad tenants are late with the rent, damage property, and bother their neighbors. Moreover, it can take up to 12 months to clear them out if they follow the letter of their lease.
According to a TransUnion survey, evicting a tenant can take three to four weeks and cost an average of $3,500, so it’s worth taking some time to screen renters. Also, there are some things you can do to find good tenants and then keep them.
What Makes a Good Tenant?
Good tenants share some common characteristics, and there are some things you can check, beginning with their application.
Good tenants usually fill out applications completely, including contact information for references, and promptly provide all of the required evidence — and they don’t hesitate to pay required upfront payments.
A Good Previous Record
Good prospective tenants are not in tenant databases and have excellent references. They have previous records, no prior evictions, no dangerous criminal records, a steady income, and a positive credit report.
Paying Rent on Time
Good tenants pay rent on time. Also, if they anticipate being late, they will inform you beforehand.
Following Policies and Rental Agreement Terms
A desirable tenant follows all property policies, including:
- Visitor policy
- Quiet hours policy
- Pet policy
- Written repair requests
- Laundry room, pool, or community area policies
Good tenants also don’t make modifications to the property without prior permission.
Taking Care of the Property and Being Accommodating
High-quality renters take care of the property, are neat, and avoid damage.
If any repairs are needed, they notify management promptly and accommodate repair staff and inspectors.
Not Causing Problems with Neighboring Tenants
Good tenants don’t generally have problems or arguments with their neighboring renters. Instead, they are respectful and don’t give cause for reasonable complaints.
How to Find Good Tenants
There are some things you can do to increase your odds of finding the best tenants for your property.
Maintain Your Property
A neat, tidy, well-maintained property is likely to attract better-quality tenants. A rundown property will discourage potential renters.
Online advertising is relatively low cost, and most renters look for rentals online.
Include a virtual tour of the property and units. In addition to pointing out the positive amenities, be honest about the negatives (no pets, no parking), expectations, and policies.
Word-of-mouth and referrals are still excellent forms of advertising. Ask friends, family, and departing tenants if they know potential tenants. Also, keep a waitlist of potential favorable renters.
Do Comprehensive Screening
A quick Google search is insufficient and may produce inaccurate results. Instead, check for criminal records, past evictions, and credit scores.
Many property owners ask for references but don’t bother to call them or reach out to past landlords. Call the references and also recent landlords listed on applications.
How to Keep Good Tenants
Once you find good tenants, you’ll want to keep them. Fortunately, there are things you can do to encourage this.
Maintain Your Property and Be Prompt with Repairs
Maintaining the property doesn’t just help attract good renters; it encourages them to stay. Neat, clear walkways and well-kept grounds are appealing.
There are few things renters complain about more than repeatedly requesting repairs or having their calls ignored. Handle repair requests promptly and have established times and a process for reporting repair requests.
Be Fair with Rent
Of course, you own rental property for profit; however, be reasonable with rent. Charge high rent or continuously raise it, and you’ll have trouble attracting and keeping tenants.
Be Responsive and Proactive; Communicate Clearly
Renters don’t like feeling ignored, so tell them if there are delays in responding to their requests or complaints. Even if it is something you can’t control, communicate clearly.
Be proactive with preventative maintenance. Take steps to fix predictive issues before tenants contact you.
Have a Reward System
Reward good behavior and a record of prompt payments by awarding points that are redeemable for a discount on one month’s rent or prizes like household items, restaurant coupons, or property upgrades.
Instead of just collecting rent, be available.
You don’t want to invade your tenants’ privacy by showing up unexpectedly, but you can host a common area open house.
You can send out personalized birthday or greeting cards and the occasional gift basket. Trust and goodwill pay big dividends with renters.
Finding and keeping good tenants is worthwhile and means less headache for you overall.