When you’re renting out a property, there’s one key to a successful investment above all else. Tenants might not be the only factor at play, but they are the most important.
A single reliable tenant can turn a property into a profit, while one particularly bad one can turn it into a money-eating pit. To avoid that, you need to learn to recognize and avoid, or at least deal with, some of the troublesome tenants that you don’t want.
Attracting and keeping long-term tenants is the name of the game. But how do you make sure you’re getting those who intend to stay in the long-term? You can’t guarantee it, but by getting an idea of their past rental situations and their future plans, you can increase your odds of finding them. You can ask for references from past landlords, for instance, and take a closer look at whether or not they have moved from home to home in the same area, town, or city several times in the recent past.
If they’re a serial renter, there’s a good chance that they weren’t moving because they wanted to, but because they have had lots of bad relationships with their landlords in the past. This means it’s even more likely they will leave your property after a similarly brief stay.
Even worse than a tenant who is likely to leave you just as soon as they signed their agreement is one who stays for as long as possible while paying as little as possible.
Dealing with late payments is a hassle and getting rid of tenants who owe you money can be very troublesome. Not only might you be unable to recoup your losses, but pursuing rent and straining relationships increases the risk of them damaging the property out of spite or neglect.
A tenant credit check is an easy way to cut the worst offenders off your shortlist. Make sure you enforce any late fee rules you have without fail. Let tenants know that you’re serious about your standards when it comes to the rent.
Unfortunately, some (thankfully not most) tenants simply do not care to live in a clean home. While they may be fine living in filth, your investment is going to suffer. You can’t force a tenant to clean anything that doesn’t violate fire and health codes or prove a safety risk.
You can, however, deal with dirty tenants by making stipulations in the contract that ensure its cleanliness.
This can include a clause that you can hire a cleaning service if they don’t clean it themselves and bill them for the costs.
The problem child
As the landlord, it’s your responsibility to make sure that the property is fit to live in. This means there are standards regarding the safety and functionality of certain fixtures in the home. Landlords should get used to requests for repairs. It’s part of the job.
However, some tenants take this further and believe that they are entitled to things that they aren’t. Make sure that you’re clear on your requirements and that your tenancy agreement reflects them. Don’t be afraid to say no to a tenant who believes that they need new drapes for the kitchen or a sprinkler system. Of course, you can’t say no if there any issues with the locks or doors, the plumbing, electrics, or heating. Those are all your responsibility.
As a landlord, you have a right to access the criminal record of any of your tenants.
However, the way you view and use this information requires some nuance. If a tenant has been convicted of certain drug-related offenses or crimes that indicate they could prove a risk to other inhabitants of the building or neighbors, you can decline them accommodation. However, you have to be careful to ensure that you’re not discriminating against those with any kind of criminal history.
What’s more, refusing to accommodate people who have been convicted of the applicable offenses isn’t classed as discrimination unless you target only specific identity groups, such as ethnicities. Be careful how you apply your access to criminal records. By all means, access them, but don’t jump the gun at just the hint of a troublesome past.
Choosing the right tenants is only one part of the journey. It’s your responsibility to ensure you have a good relationship with them as well.
Respect their rights, treat them fairly, and be responsive to their needs (when they’re justified). Otherwise, you will have a hard time keeping a hold of those truly good tenants when you get them.