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How to Find and Keep Good Tenants

Published: July 2019

Finding a good tenant for your rental property doesn’t have to be a headache. Between learning what you can do to generate interest to taking time to get to know applicants, there are some steps you can follow to find a tenant that is a good fit for your rental. Get started by following these tips:

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Market Your Rental Property

The first step to finding a tenant is to advertise your place is for rent. Consider listing your property on different rental websites or use social media to help get the word out, says The Balance. Or, post “for rent” flyers on shared bulletin boards across your community. If you need help spreading the word, reach out to friends and family to see if they know of anyone looking for a place to rent. You may even consider offering a referral bonus to them if they can connect you with a new tenant, says The Balance. Lastly, don’t forget to place a “for rent” sign in the window of your rental so people know it’s available as they drive or walk by.

Ask Potential Tenants for References

After you receive inquiries for your property, it’s important to screen any potential tenants. This process should include asking for references, such as previous landlords and their employer, says Zillow. Before giving any references a call, try to have a list of questions prepared. Trulia recommends asking references if the potential tenant was reliable and maintained a job, and how well they took care of the rental unit. You may also want to call their employer to verify the applicant still works there.

Run Background and Credit Checks

A background check can show a potential tenant’s past, and may help bring any major or minor violations to your attention. You’ll likely need the potential tenant’s name and date of birth to complete a background check, says The Balance. Keep in mind, a thorough check should include looking for records on a federal, state and county level. Completing a background check can be time consuming, so you may want to consider hiring a third-party company to help you complete it, recommends The Balance.

Additionally, a credit check can help you verify information such as how much debt the applicant has, or previous bankruptcies or evictions, says Zillow. Find a reputable company to run the report and keep in mind that, sometimes, you can combine a credit check with a background check. To complete the credit check, you’ll likely need the tenant to provide their Social Security number and some other personal information, says Zillow. It also may not hurt to ask the applicant for a few pay stubs to help you determine if they can truly afford to pay rent. If you’ve asked for their employer as a reference, consider verifying their monthly income during the call as well.

Establish Good Communication With Tenants

After you’ve selected a tenant for your place, Forbes says keeping an open line of communication, being a good listener and following up on messages quickly can help you form a positive relationship. Providing an exceptional customer service experience and being in good standing with your tenant can help keep them happy, and may even make them want to stay in the rental property longer, says Forbes.

Keep Up With Property Maintenance

Property maintenance is an important aspect of property management. As a landlord, you’re responsible for providing tenants with a rental home in habitable condition, says Realtor.com. That means you may be responsible for major or minor repairs that arise along the way, such as a broken garbage disposal or toilet. By keeping your property in livable condition, and promptly fixing issues when they arise, your tenant will likely be happier in knowing that they can count on you for help.

As a lease comes to an end, a positive landlord-tenant relationship may help the renter decide whether they’d like to renew it. From taking time to screen potential tenants to providing a good customer service experience, you can help ensure you find and keep suitable tenants at your rental property.

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