Quality tenants can mean the difference between a reliable, stress-free return on your investment or a constant source of worry. To help you find the best tenants possible, consider the following advice:
Become Familiar with Housing Laws
Know your rights as a landlord, as well as your obligations. You will want to have all of these in mind before you begin your search.
Be particularly careful about the way you intend to find and select tenants. You cannot discriminate based on age, sex, class, race or disability. An example of something that could run afoul of this law would be an ad stating “Only males under the age of 35 can apply.”
Determine Your Ideal Tenant
Depending on the home you own, the area it is in and the rent you want to collect, you can select more open-ended social demographics than the ones stated previously.
For instance, a condo for lease in downtown Vancouver could advertise “perfect for a single person who wants a quick commute to work,” whereas a medium-sized West Point Grey home could advertise “family home with ideal neighborhood for raising young children.”
Feel free to be flexible, but knowing your intended market goes a long way towards helping you reach and screen the right prospects.
Know Where to Advertise
Use both online and physical listings. Great places to post include local co-op grocery stores, businesses, parent information billboards at schools and ad posting boards at the University of British Columbia. Basically, anywhere you would expect to find your target audience is a good spot for a physical listing.
When it comes to online listings, you can place an ad on sites like rentals.com or even Facebook. Consider avoiding sites like Craigslist as they can attract scammers.
Make sure to include specific information in any ad, including pictures of the exterior, number of bedrooms and overall rent amount.
Diligently Screen Applicants
Download a sample rental application and modify it for your purposes. Require applicants to fill out detailed contact information and include references from supervisors and prior landlords. These people will give you the best indication of how responsible and organized the applicant is.
Make sure you actually call the references, too. Even if you spend an entire afternoon trying to get in touch with people, the information they provide will be worth it.
If the rent on your property is particularly high, do not hesitate to ask for a credit check. A person’s credit history is a treasure trove of information on someone’s financial habits.
Have the Applicant View the Home with You
Encourage them to ask questions and give them as many details up-front as possible. Use this meeting as an opportunity to measure up your prospective tenant, but keep in mind that appearances can be deceiving. The best indication of future behavior is based on past behavior, so call those references.
Print Out a Lease and Ask for a Deposit
Make sure your lease is airtight and includes every one of your expectations and concerns to the letter. You can even place restrictions on parking or overnight guests.
Collect a deposit that is at least worth a month’s rent and ask for the initial month’s rent up-front. This demand will be a test to see how prepared the tenant is for setbacks.
Take many pictures of the property before they move in to document the state of the house. Make the tenant well aware of the type of damage that will come out of their security deposit.
With these initial tasks out of the way, you should end up with a tenant that is worthy of the real estate property you took the time to invest in.