No learning experience is as difficult as having to evict a terrible tenant or having someone unreliable break their lease agreement—especially when it leaves you high and dry. Keep reading to ensure that the next time you sign a tenant, you’ll allow only the most responsible renters to live at your place.
Tap into Your Network
Dependable tenants probably have dependable friends. Birds of a feather, flock together! It’s perfectly fine to ask your favorite past renters if they have anyone in their circles looking for a new place. The same goes for your own friend circles; spread the word that you have a property available for good, reliable tenants. You’d be amazed what can come out of the woodwork without doing any advertising.
Advertise with Intention
Odds are, you’ll probably still have to advertise your property—at least sometimes. Unfortunately, there are many, many scams online that good renters have become privy to. Using free websites to showcase your rental property may be financially appealing to you, just as they are to notorious scammers. The most responsible renters are likely not checking those sites very often, if at all. See the problem?
Instead, go ahead and shell out a little cash to list your place on a reliable website or two. And in the meantime, do the groundwork to advertise offline as well. Fliers, newspaper listings, and word of mouth all have almost as much power behind them as digital marketing.
Have Strong Documents
Everything from your lease to your insurance should be detailed enough to make a lawyer smile. Your lease should spell out specific expectations for living in the rental, including grounds for eviction. And on the applicant’s side, they should be able to provide reasonable answers to your application questions, to be later verified by a subsequent background check. Even if the process seems like overkill, go through it anyway.
Keep Your Standards High
Get real with yourself about who your dream tenant would be. And then, make a short list of things you’d be willing to compromise on. Maybe you find the perfect person, but they have a cat, and you have a no-pet policy. Maybe they want to pay rent on the 15th every month rather than the 1st. Decide ahead of time what requests would be out of the question, and what you’d be willing to consider for the right candidate. Meanwhile, be mindful of the law. Discrimination is not to be taken lightly, or else The Fair Housing Act will drop like a hammer on your head.
The benefits of using rental applications are plentiful. It will help to keep you less biased, you’ll get all the information you need in a uniform, organized manner, and it serves as an additional responsible “hoop” to jump through which can help dissuade risky renters. Applications easily highlight red flags in the form of blank spaces.
Hint: “Do you have renter’s insurance?” should ALWAYS be answered with, “Of course I do because I’m smart and dependable, and I can bring proof at the time of move-in.”
The application format is ideal when it comes to putting the applicants through credit checks. And, depending on your state, you can ask for a small application fee to help cover the cost of background checks.
Do Your Homework
Once you find some folks with promise, send their information through a thorough background check. SmartMove offers a variety of different tenant credit checks for landlords, depending on your rental needs and priorities. These smart checks generate the crucial information you need and can recommend whether the applicant may or may not be a good fit for your property based on the priorities you set.
Obviously, every landlord in the game is on the hunt for dependable, reliable, and respectful tenants. You must be on top of the trends to snag tenants for yourself. Be aware, respect and reliability go both ways. Great renters expect great landlords, who will treat them with kindness, understanding, and professionalism. Securing one of these legendary rental relationships is easier than you might think, if you follow our advice.