The right tenants can be your source of income, while the wrong ones can burn a huge hole through your wallet. Sadly, distinguishing the first kind from the second isn’t always as easy as looking through applications and choosing what looks best on paper.
There really isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of solution for picking the right tenants, but there are a couple of things you can keep in mind to avoid ending up with tenants from hell that will potentially damage your property and give you a vicious headache every time you think about dealing with them.
Know the Law
The first thing you need to know before starting your screening process is the law in your state and country. Don’t underestimate how important this is as not following correct protocol with this could land you a discrimination lawsuit. For example, on some countries it’s illegal to refuse a tenant based on religion, others say it’s discriminatory to refuse potential tenants with legal convictions. So, all in all, make sure to know what you can and can’t refuse to make sure you don’t run into any trouble before you even rent the property.
Always Do a Background Check
You should always find as much information as you can about a possible renter. All within what’s legal, of course. The first thing you should be looking at is their income, generally you want their salary to be at least twice the monthly rent. Then you want to check whether they have any debt. A tenant with a high income but in a lot of debt might not be worth your time.
Another good thing to check is previous living arrangements. Is your potential renter someone who seems to move every couple of months? Would that work for you? Are they stable in their professional life or are they prone to switching jobs often? These are all things that you need to know before renting the property.
Ideally, you should ask any potential tenants for a comprehensive employment history and references. If you can, contact the previous landlord and ask whether they were on time with rents or had any issues at all, did the neighbors ever complain? What was the condition of the property when they left? Why did they move? Don’t be scared to ask everything you need to know to make an informed decision.
Make Sure All the Rules Are Clear
Before making a selection, make sure all applicants know exactly what the rules are and agree with them. If you have any rules or limitations, it’s best to let everyone know as early in the process as possible. Take the time to discuss them with any potential renters before moving on with the selection process, this will save you having to start all over again if you choose someone, show them the rules and have them withdraw the offer afterwards.
Trust Your Gut
Ultimately, learn to trust yourself. If someone seems great on paper, and no red flags have come up while screening them, but you still feel something is off, trust that feeling. Don’t ignore any uneasiness you feel when dealing with certain people.