Every landlord’s dream is to have a houseproud tenant who treats the property like they would their own home, however, this is easier said than done.
The scary truth is that it can be really difficult to tell whether someone will make a good tenant or not. While no background check is foolproof, there are a few steps you can take to increase your odds of picking the best of the bunch.
1. Present The Property at It’s Best
By making sure that gardens are neat, the interior is neat and clean and any visible damage is repaired goes a long way to attracting the right tenants. Tenants with high personal standards of home maintenance will be put off by such things and less likely to apply for your rental. By presenting a high standard from the beginning, you are sending an also sending a clear signal of the kind of standards of care you, in turn, expect from a tenant.
2. Rental History Check
A tenant should be able to provide you with a rental history ledger, along with any other information relating to their experience as a tenant. Below are some of the standard questions you should ask;
- Where they ever late in making rental payments?
- Where they ever evicted or have their lease forcefully terminated?
- Did they ever have part or all of their rental bond not returned?
- Did the tenant give a 30 days’ notice before moving?
- The name and contact details of their past two landlords or estate agents.
While it’s great to ask these questions to get a feel for the tenant, it’s important to keep in mind they may not be truthful in their application. That’s why you should always verify their rental history with their previous real estate agent or landlord. Don’t forget to ask about their general disposition – this is a great way to weed out potentially problematic or nasty tenants.
In the event that the applicant is a first-time tenant, a student, or a new graduate, they probably won’t have a rental history. In this situation, you can ask for a co-signer for the lease.
3. Income Check
Making sure that your tenant is financially stable and able to cover the cost of rent is essential. You should ask your tenant to provide information about their employment basis, their annual income, their employers’ name and how long they have been working for them. Once again, don’t just expect them to provide honest answers. Ask verification via bank statements, payslips and tax returns.
You ought to run a credit check too. Do they have a history of paying their bills on time?
4. Ask why are you moving?
This question is most often overlooked and thought of as irrelevant however this open-ended question can provide you with a wealth of knowledge about a prospective tenant.
A good tenant, with long term intent to stay, will give a well-reasoned answer and show that they are putting down roots in the area.
For example, answers such as I want to move closer to my children’s school, I am moving to have a shorter commute to work and this rental is ideally located or I am mobbing to be closer to the family are all great answers.
However, if you receive answers such as my previous lease ended, I was looking for a change or if they leave the question blank – then it may be a sign of a flakey tenant.
5. Observe tenants at inspections
Inspection time is one of the best opportunities to evaluate prospective tenants. While you have to be mindful to not discriminate based on race, religious belief, gender, sexual orientation, etc you should approach the inspection like an employer during an interview.
During the inspection, there are a few things you can look for.
Do the tenants take care of their personal appearance? Did they arrive on time and did they ask thoughtful questions? Did they offer to take their shoes off at the door? Where they respectful to the agent? How about their children, did they seem well behaved?
Although seemingly insignificant, these little details offer a glimpse into what the lease relationship may look like.
If a tenant is polite, with respectful well-behaved children and the entire family is neatly dressed then it is a good indication that these tenants are likely to be tidy, easy to deal with and reliable.
If all of this seems like a lot to handle, then don’t worry. A good property manager can take care of this for you.