9 Tips for Finding the Perfect Tenant

Most landlords don’t realize that the next biggest mistake they can make aside from investing in the wrong property (and the most common one) is choosing the WRONG tenants to live in it.

If you don’t screen your tenants thoroughly, your life as a landlord (especially for first-timers) can be hell on earth. On the other hand, the perfect tenant will treat your property like their own and make your job easy and stress-free. That said, it’s crucial to invest time and effort in choosing the best tenant for your rental.

Here’s a guide to finding the perfect tenant for your property.


Understand the laws

Research and study the federal and state laws that cover tenants and landlords before putting your property up for rent. These laws and guidelines outline what constitutes illegal discrimination against qualified tenants. For example, you could base your decision on credit or criminal history but not on race, religion, national origin, gender, age, or family status.

To ensure that you conform to state and federal laws, consult a local attorney or legal information sites. Landlord organizations will also be helpful.

Set requirements to your standards

Screening applicants can be as simple as setting the rent price, but creating a list of tenant requirements that are up to your standards will further help you find the best renter for your property. Start by asking for a rental application, credit report, and a criminal history check. Doing so will turn off prospects who know they wouldn’t pass your test.

Know where to advertise your rental

Advertising your property on reputable online platforms is the easiest way to find a tenant. But beware of choosing which site to use. Some free websites have become notorious for scammers who change contact information on rental listings, take rent money of potential tenants, and disappear into thin air.

You can also expand your approach by taking out ads on online and printed classified sections of local newspapers, putting up fliers in strategic places, referrals from family and friends, and broadcasting your rental on various social networking sites.

Ask the right questions

Asking the right questions is essential when screening your potential tenants. It prevents wasting time on both ends. It’s also important not to assume anything about a tenant from the way they come across if interviewing over the phone. Always remain objective when asking your questions.

Here are some examples of questions to ask a tenant during a background check–

  • When do you need a place?
  • Have you given notice to your existing landlord?
  • How is your job?
  • How is your credit report?
  • What is your maximum budget?
  • How many bedrooms do you need?
  • Do you have pets?
  • Who else will be living with you?

Get them to talk

Talking with your potential tenant will tell you a lot about them. Get them talking about their current or previous landlord. If a tenant left the relationship on a bitter note, you’ll want to know what happened. If you happen to uncover a prospective tenant suing his current landlord, don’t risk that person as a tenant. You could be the next landlord they go after. Don’t rely on paperwork alone to carry out a background check. Be creative and willing to engage with tenants on a personal level.

Watch out for troubling signs

It’s part of due diligence to look for suspicious signs when screening a potential tenant. Most landlords mistakenly think that a tenant background screening is only about checking landlord and employment references. Though that is an integral part of the process, a good landlord will also do extra detective work. Remember, professional tenants who make a living from deceiving landlords exist, i.e., not paying rent and disappearing before landlords can take them to court.

Do background checks

Determining if a tenant is the perfect fit for your property involves their history. Do thorough research on an applicant’s employment, credit history, bankruptcies, evictions, and criminal records. You can also hire companies to do this bit for you. Fees for these reports run from $10 to $70 per adult screened. Also, make sure you or the company you hire calls the applicant’s employer to verify their income.

Ensure affordability

Affordability is another critical element when screening your tenant. Consider how much they earn concerning the rent owing, their current liabilities, and their spending habits as reflected by their credit report. Doing this will let you know whether a tenant can afford to rent your property. Every city will have its own rule about an acceptable rent-vs-income ratio.

Use a Lease Agreement

Having a strong lease will set the terms and conditions for your tenants. It should include facts like who will live there and when rent is due, penalties for late rent, etc. Be sure to use a Lease Agreement to spell out policies and the basis for eviction. It will protect you, your home, and your tenants, too.

Social Media Post:

🤔Are you renting out your property soon?🏠 Be sure to find the ✅RIGHT tenant!👪 Here’s a guide to finding the perfect renter for your house.👍

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