Every landlord wants to find the best possible tenant for their rental property. Among the many traits of a good renter — such as cleanliness, quietness, and responsiveness — many landlords prioritize rental experience in their tenants to determine whether they’ll be a good fit based on their history.
However, everyone who rents their property has to have a first time doing so, and as a landlord, you’re likely to come across many potential renters who are interested in your property but have never signed a lease.
Though your first instinct may be to wait for someone who has renting experience, you shouldn’t automatically count out a first-time renter as your next tenant. Here are some tips for taking on a first-time renter.
Why Give Your Lease to a First-Time Renter?
In many cases, first-time renters are younger people who are just starting their adult life away from home, whether they’re in college or starting their first job. Oftentimes, they are excited about living on their own for the first time and can’t wait to settle into their new home.
This newness and lack of experience often result in first-time renters who are eager to please. These renters are also frequently more aware of rent due dates, lease agreements, and property rules than someone who has been renting for years.
Additionally, you can require a parent or guardian to cosign with younger tenants. Therefore, you have an added level of security during their lease that single signers won’t be able to provide.
Getting Your First-Time Renter Ready for Lease
As the landlord, there are a few steps that you can take to set your first-time renter up for success and potentially turn them into a long-term renter — if that’s your goal. First-time renters can be some of the best tenants, but they’ll need some help understanding what is expected of them and some extra support during lease signing.
Go over the Lease Terms in Detail
Just because someone is a first-time renter doesn’t automatically mean they have no experience with property rental or even homeownership. In fact, some first-time renters were previous homeowners that had to sell their homes for one reason or another, so they may already understand lease agreement terminology.
Gauge the experience level of your first-time renter and pay attention to how they respond during the contract negotiation period.
If your future tenant has little to no experience reading over leases, make sure to go over the lease terms one by one, leaving no details out. You can’t assume that anything in your lease goes without saying with a first-time renter.
The most important lease terms to focus on are the rent price, how they’ll pay their rent, and when. Additionally, if you have any specific details about your rental property that set it apart from others, you should make those clear from the get-go.
Once these details have been discussed, you can explain more about basic lease information and encourage them to ask any questions they might have.
Make Any Responsibilities Clear
Even first-time renters understand the concept of paying rent in exchange for being allowed to live in a rental property. However, there may be other responsibilities that renters are in charge of based on the specific property’s needs.
For example, you may need to clarify to your first-time renter that the trash needs to be taken out on a specific day or the grass needs to be watered a certain number of times per week. The clearer you can be about these responsibilities, the greater the likelihood of success for yourself and your tenant.
While you’re outlining responsibilities, make sure to let your first-time renter know what kind of modifications they can and cannot make to your property.
Establish an open line of communication and let them know that if they have questions about whether they’re allowed to do something on or to the property, they can always ask you.
Make sure to share some basic property management information with your first-time renter. Even though they may never need to turn off the gas or water on your property or flip a switch in the electric control box, it’s important to show them where these things are and how to use them in case of an emergency.