High-quality, trustworthy ideal tenants are crucial to success as a landlord. A less than ideal tenant can cost both time and money. They can also increase stress levels and make being a landlord a frustrating experience.
The following are five of the key qualities to look for in an ideal tenant to help ensure a positive experience for everyone involved.
- Financially Sound
This is, of course, a major consideration when selecting an ideal tenant. If tenants are not financially viable and secure, they could quickly begin paying the rent late – or skip payments altogether. Ideally, the cost of rent should comprise one-third or less of the tenant’s income; however this can vary depending upon an area’s rental market and economy. A credit check with the assistance of a reputable tenant screening company can help to ensure that they are financially responsible and have a good credit rating with the credit bureaus.
- No Criminal History
Having a criminal record is a definite red flag when it comes to rental applicants. It could be a sign that this behavior will continue in the future. However, check to ensure that state, city and local law allows landlords to factor criminal history into their decision; in some areas, doing so against the law. Enlisting the help of a professional tenant screening service can help to take the guesswork out of screening for criminal history. Landlords can enjoy the peace of mind that it will be done property and in compliance with relevant tenant’s rights laws.
The ideal tenant is also polite and conscientious. While it is more difficult to screen for this quality, a few calls to the tenant’s listed character references and/or former landlords can help to yield this information. What do their references say about them? Finding out their track record regarding on-time rent payments is important as well.
Find out if the applicant kept past rental properties clean and in good condition during their time there. This is an indicator of the level of respect they have for the property of others. Ask previous landlords how they got along with other tenants in the building as well; respect for other people is just as important as respecting the property they will be renting. It is also an indicator that they will be respectful of landlord policies such as not subletting the property or giving a specific amount of notice when they will be moving out.
- Friendly (but Not Too Friendly)
Everyone prefers to be around friendly, pleasant people. While friendliness is a positive quality in tenants as well, some personality types can take it a little too far. Tenants who try to tell their life story or vent about their personal lives may bring more drama than most landlords care to deal with. Landlords and property managers should screen tenants in this way during the initial interview. A tenant who seems too talkative or “needy” can turn out to be problematic in terms of complaints and personal drama. They could also take up excessive amounts of a landlord’s time.
Leasing to new tenants always involves some degree of risk; however, there are ways to mitigate and minimize this risk. Looking for the five qualities discussed here can help landlords to find the ideal tenants who will be problem-free and profitable.
Intuition goes a long way in finding an ideal tenant, and a professional tenant screener can assist in checking the backgrounds of potential renters. Professional tenant screening can also help ensure that screening is done in compliance with the Fair Housing Act and local laws.