As a landlord, you don’t want the stress of having to deal with a nightmare tenant. You want a tenant that pays the rent on time, is reliable and wants to rent the property on a long term basis. This helps you to enjoy your role as a landlord and ensures that you aren’t on the constant lookout for better tenants. It’s not easy to find the right tenants for your rental property, but that’s not to say that it’s impossible. Here are some tips to help you find the right tenants for you.
Familiarize Yourself with Local Laws
As a landlord, you are subject to federal laws, state laws and local ordinances related to preventing discrimination. When you are looking for the ideal tenants, these are all things to keep in mind as you don’t want to be accused of discriminating against a protected class of people. Race, sex, disability, religion and national origin all fall into this category and some localities will have other groups. You need to familiarize yourself with local laws and ensure that you comply with them all, as this is a legal requirement of being a landlord.
Carry Out Tenant Credit Checks
A good tenant is one that pays their rent on time, so it’s important to ensure the tenant you choose is able to do so. You should obtain credit history and verify their income, as this will give you an insight into whether they will be able to keep up with payments. Look at things such as pay stubs, credit reports and employer references detailing earnings. It’s also helpful to look at their other financial obligations, as you don’t want the rent to fall by the wayside to cover other debts and outgoings. Sometimes it’s better to choose a tenant with a lower income, but with fewer financial obligations. Previous squatter evictions, bankruptcy, and civil judgments are all signs of a tenant not being a suitable fit.
Do a Criminal Background Check
Don’t lease a property to a tenant without carrying out a criminal background check, as there’s no telling who could pose a danger. You don’t want to have a tenant move in, only to then later realize they are a danger to you or other tenants. It’s beneficial to take a close look at tenants who have a criminal history relating specifically to finances, such as writing bad checks. Your background check should include sex offender databases, federal searches, state searches, and county records. The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and some states have laws in place to ensure landlords don’t turn away potential tenants unjustly because of a criminal record. So, think about whether their specific criminal history is one to worry about. As carrying out a thorough criminal background check can be difficult and time-consuming, you may want to enlist the help of a contact a property management company with better resources.
Ask For Rental Histories and References
Knowing a bit about a tenant’s previous rental experiences is a good way to gauge whether they will be a good tenant. It’s a good idea to contact their previous landlords and ask for an insight into any problems; find out whether the landlord would consider them a problem tenant if they paid the rent on time, why they are leaving and if the landlord would recommend them. You could go as far as to ask about any damage to the current property and if there were any complaints from neighbors. If any problematic behavior is highlighted, you know to consider another applicant. If you are thinking about an applicant with no rental history, you can ask for a co-signer to back them up.
Other Things to Think About
As well as thinking about whether someone will be a good tenant, think about whether current tenants will be happy with the addition. Avoid anyone who lies on their application, anyone disinterested, those who appear unfriendly and applicants who turn up late to showings. It’s also a red flag if someone doesn’t want to undergo a credit check or background check. In most places, you can deny a tenant if they are a smoker, if they don’t earn enough and if they have a poor rental history. Though you can deny those with a pet, you cannot deny service animals.
Finding the ideal tenant may seem daunting, but hard work pays off and it’s worth putting a lot of effort into. Choosing the right tenant will help your rental venture to be a successful and profitable one.