As a landlord, one of the most taxing times of the year is when a lease expires and they have to find new tenants for their property. Finding good tenants is not an easy task and there is no fail-proof way of ensuring that the tenants you eventually choose will be “good”. However, there are some things you can do to minimize your risk and find good tenants.
What is a Good Tenant?
The term “good tenant” is relative to the requirements of your property. For example, you might have a large three-bedroom home so a couple with three children would be good tenants, but for someone with a one-bedroom apartment, this family would not make good tenants. However, there are some things that are commonly associated with good tenants like paying rent on time, taking care of your property, notifying you of repair needs immediately and not breaking any rules set out in the lease or agreement.
Here are some ways to make sure you do not rent out your property to problem tenants.
Real Estate Agent or Property Manager
Many landlords choose to hire real estate agents or property management companies who will market and rent out their property. A professional property manager will also help you decide what kind of tenants would suit your property’s requirements. For example, if you have a property in the middle of Fenway-Kenmore, your agent might suggest you rent out to students or medical professionals from the Longwood Medical Area. Finding the right tenant means having a good idea of what kind of prospects will be best for you and your property.
Screen Your Tenants
The process of screening tenants is one of the primary methods most landlords and property managers use to screen out any undesirable tenants from their list of applicants. Remember that you cannot discriminate against any applicant on the basis of race, color, religion etc. The screening can only be done on the basis of characteristics that may prove the tenant’s lack of responsibility towards their financial responsibilities.
A rental application is a form that every tenant who wishes to rent your property must fill out. At BBA Management, we use a rental application to help us in the tenant screening process for the properties we manage. You can adapt this document for your own use or contact your real estate agent to help you devise one for your property. This application must ask about all aspects related to an applicant’s financial position and other details. For example:
- Name of employer and income
- Social security number and driver’s license
- Monthly debt payments
- Credit information
- Credit report authorization
- Rental history
- Last landlord’s name and address
Once you have a completed rental application, save it in your records for future use.
Having references from employers and previous landlords is not enough, and you must contact each person mentioned in the application to confirm everything. Make sure you note down the whole conversation and save it along with the rental application.
A landlord is allowed to contact the applicant’s employer to confirm their stated income and inquire about the prospective tenant’s attendance.
Previous landlords are perhaps the best people to ask about a prospective tenant. Remember that they are, after all, human so listen to their tone carefully when talking to you. Sometimes, previous landlords can lie or misinform new landlords just because they have a grudge against the tenant for some trivial reason. However, sometimes, they may be telling the truth. Use your judgment and common sense here.
Getting a credit report will help you confirm that the tenant really can pay his rent. Look for warning signs like late payments of bills or outstanding debt. These should present a clear indication of the tenant’s ability to pay rent.
Finding a good tenant is all about being careful and thorough with your search. If you would like to enlist our services to help you manage your property, please contact BBA Management at 617-734-6900 or email@example.com.