Ever experienced, heard, or read about the tenant from hell? If yes, then you are well aware that that’s the last thing a landlord wants to deal with, if not the renter who vacates and leaves the property in a mess.
Can one avoid that? Yes. However, there are times you will follow and adhere to all the good recommendations, like the ones we are about to mention, and still end up with a horrible tenant. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes it’s the good-tenant-goes-bad situation that turns everything upside down.
Nevertheless, what you do at the beginning of the process can have a huge impact on how your relationship will pan out later on during the tenancy period.
In this article, we’ll explore some tips that can help you land quality clients with the ability to meet their rent obligations and who won’t turn out to be a complication by not complying with property rules.
1. Get Your Property Ready For Occupation
Before you begin to advertise the availability of your property(s), you should be absolutely sure that it’s ready to be occupied at a moment’s notice, reason being that once you put it out there by way of posters in your local grocery, listings, word of mouth, or on listings, you could start getting phone calls from potential renters right away.
Thoroughly cleaning the property, performing necessary repairs, and undertaking paint jobs are among the many actions you as a landlord and the property manager should take to keep the property in mint condition. When it’s not in such a good and ready state, you could lose out on quality clients who would be impressed by your ad but later turn away after seeing the condition of your property.
That means should you get a phone call, you can reach a settlement with a potential tenant as soon as they are ready, which could be the very same day they make contact.
2. Screen Potential Tenants
One major reason for screening potential renters is to ensure that you filter out possible suitors who might be unable to meet their rent obligations consistently or make trouble for the rest of your tenants by not complying with simple property rules.
To begin with, have a screening form for ALL would-be tenants. This form should capture vital information that would give you more insight as to the ability of the client to pay rent as well as to the kind of person they might be.
Make merit your basis of selection.
Screening information can include things like:
- Name of applicant
- Where they have rented before (referral letter from previous landlords)
- Employment address and position or nature of their business if self-employed
- How many people does he/she intend to stay within the apartment?
- Social security numbers
- Valid identification cards or documents, etc.
You also have the option of outsourcing such work to tenant screening service who’d run a credit check as well. One major benefit to note about this process is that it will help you recognize quality clients and those likely to cause you problems.
3. Advertise In The Right Places
If you have several units for rent, you will want to advertise in places where there is a high potential of your ad being seen and acted upon.
Some shopping malls, for example, may charge a small advertising fee to place your ad on their information boards. The advantage? It is likely to be seen by a good number of potential tenants.
Another good strategy is to also contact human resource departments in the local business community and let them know of your rentals. Such information can be symbiotic in the sense that they post valuable information for their employees on their information boards, internal magazines, and canteens. That means you will likely receive calls from their employees who would like a place to rent.
Next, advertise in the local paper classifieds and also post the ad on credible online rental listing platforms, like Zillow, or one that is widely known and trusted in your area. If possible, leave your fliers at the local grocery stores as well.
Generally, advertise on as many effective platforms as you can as this will help you to expand your reach of potential quality clients.
4. Include All Amenities in Your Ad
Your add should mention all the basic details of your rental(s), such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and whether it is furnished or unfurnished.
You can add value and justify your rents by mentioning all the extra amenities if there are any. This might sound overly basic, but the reality is, someone looking over your ad has a specific rental need or lifestyle.
Extras can include fireplace, swimming pool, steam and sauna, gym, and so forth. Such extras are good sellers and tend to attract quality clients who are willing to pay a premium buck for those amenities.
5. Use A Lease Agreement
Quality tenants tend to fuss over the finer details and want to know exactly what sort of agreement they are entering into from a legal standpoint.
As a landlord, not having a lease form that clearly indicates the terms and conditions of renting the property can be a turn off to some potential renters.
Meanwhile, having it reflects that you are a professional, which is a quality most serious tenants look out for. The written legal proof of tenancy will be of benefit to both you and the tenant. For example, in the unlikely event that there is a dispute during the tenancy period, there will be a legal document to fall back on.
A quality tenant can be relative depending on where you sit. But because renting is a business like any other, any serious landlord will want a tenant who can pay their rent on time and comply with property rules. Luckily for you, all we’ve discussed is meant to help you achieve just that: better renters. If you apply the information correctly, you are most likely going to net quality clients who will make your work as a landlord much easier and better.
Eric Worral has owned and managed rentals for over 9 years. Currently, he works in marketing at RentPrep.com, a tenant screening service for landlords and property managers. He’s also the co-host of the “RentPrep for Landlords” podcast where he shares tips and insights on managing your rental properties.