How to Find The Perfect Tenant For Your Rental Home
October 14, 2016
On the surface, listing rooms for rent seems easy enough. You buy a condo or house, post a few ads on listing sites, secure a few tenants and watch the money roll in. But nothing could be further from the truth. Being a landlord can be challenging and downright miserable at times. All landlords have had their fair share of nightmare tenants, whether it was an individual who never paid rent on time, destroyed their rental apartments, or ran an illegal business on their property. If you don’t do your due diligence in properly screening people, you’ll end up with a series of tenants who will make your life a living hell.
Here’s a guide to finding the perfect tenants for your rental home:
- Do a credit check
Enforcing a mandatory credit check as part of the tenant application process will improve your chances of finding tenants who will pay their rent on time. Make sure you ask for permission from prospective renters before looking at their credit score. Those individuals who have a good credit history are proven to be able to adequately handle their finances and likely pay their rent on time. There is a small fee with credit checks, but if your city or town allows you to charge an application fee then you get the prospective tenant to pay for it.
- Conduct other background checks
Aside from running a credit check, you might want to look into additional background checks for the prospective tenant. There are several companies that offer background check services that are priced slightly more than a credit check (again, you can add this cost to your application fee). A background check will uncover any legal or other issues the prospective tenant has experienced. Additionally, you can do a social media background check on the individual and see what type of material he or she posts online.
- Check their references
Once you’ve received positive results from the tenant’s credit check and other background checks, you are free to follow up on the references the tenant provided on the apartment rental application. In the application, make sure you specify that at least one of the references is a previous landlord so you can ask said landlord how he or she was as a tenant as well as any other questions. You should also look into character and work references.
- Charge an application fee
In order to filter out the serious renters from the not so serious, you can charge an application fee. Check to see first if your city or province/state allows a tenant application fee before enforcing one. Price the application fee high enough that someone would actually stop and consider if it was worthwhile but not so high that no one will want to rent your home. It’s also a good idea to offer to apply the fee toward the security deposit if you select the prospective tenant.
- Conduct interviews
You should always interview your potential applicant. Depending on how many people are prospective tenants you have per unit, you might want to stick to a phone interview to expedite the process. Having said that, you don’t want to rush this step. At the end of the day, you to be left with a good sense of how responsible the prospect is and whether he or she will make a great tenant, so talking to the person will give you some insight into the kind of person you’re renting your apartment to.
Alternatively, you can download the CirclApp mobile and desktop app for a seamless, one-stop shop for all your landlord responsibilities. The app allows you to make a profile with all your pertinent information, as well as offers several unique features like Rent Score, which takes into account a tenant’s apartment rental payment history when applying for a new property; and a Rating System, which measures a prospective tenant’s past renting conduct based on their credit rating and references.