How to Find a Good Tenant
As property owners, how to find a good tenant is one of the most pressing questions we have. There are good tenants, and there are bad tenants. While no single checking method is 100% guaranteed there are certain factors you should definitely look at that will give you more confidence in getting a great tenant for your rental. Following these Landlord tips and tenant finding tips will guide you in making the best choice possible.
1. Always Follow the law
Landlords must treat all prospective tenants equally. There is a law, known as the which is purposefully designed to stop discrimination against certain people in any activity related to housing. In short, you cannot discriminate based on:
• Race or colour
• National origin
• Familial status (families with children)
2. Make sure you Choose a Tenant With Good Credit
You want to make sure you find a prospective tenant who is financially responsible. If they are good at paying their bills, there is a high chance they will pay their rent on time and be responsible with your most valuable asset.
A. Check and Verify Income the tenants income:
• Best case scenario, you will want to find a tenant whose monthly income is at least three times the monthly rent.
• Ask for copies of their pay clips.
• Contact their employer directly to confirm their job, length of employment, attendance record and monthly earnings.
B. Run a Credit Check:
• Do they have a history of paying their bills on time?
• Check their income to debt ratio.
• Even if their income is three times the monthly rent, you have to factor in how much debt they have.
• Look for prior evictions, civil judgments against or bankruptcies.
3. Make sure you perform a Police Check
Visit the criminal back ground check website to access a person’s prior history.
Criminal information is public record, and can be viewed at various court houses. This check will turn up both serious and minor offenses. You will need the tenant’s name and date of birth to run one. Keep in mind that those with a criminal record may try to falsify this information, so make sure to check a valid ID to verify that they are who they say they are.
4. Look at the Tenant’s Rental History
If possible, you should talk to at least two of the tenant’s previous landlords. This is because if the applicant was a problem tenant, the current landlord may want to get the tenant off their hands and may not be as truthful.
Questions You Should Ask previous landlords or other Real Estate agents they have rented through:
• Did the tenant pay their rent on time?
• What was the reason for the move? Was the tenant evicted for non-payment of rent or for breaking the landlord’s rules?
• Did the tenant give 30 days’ notice prior to moving?
• How did they keep their apartment? Were they clean?
• Did they cause any damage to the apartment other than normal wear and tear?
• Were they respectful of their neighbours?
• Did they complain often?
Of course, if the applicant is a first-time renter, a student or a recent graduate, they may not have a rental history. In this case, you can require a co-signer for the lease.
5. Choose a Tenant Who Is Stable in work and living
On their application form, look at the tenant’s prior living arrangements and their employment history. Do they have stability or do they move or switch jobs often? If they move often, this pattern is likely to continue and you will soon have a vacancy on your hands again. If they have not shown consistent employment, they may not be able to afford the apartment in three months and you will be left starting your tenant search from scratch or dealing with an eviction.