The Top 7 Qualities All Good Tenants Have
To find a good tenant, it helps to know what a good tenant actually is. Here are seven qualities all good tenants have.
Finding a good tenant isn’t easy. Even someone who looks good on paper may not be the best tenant. But, if you keep these seven qualities in mind while showing the property and during the application process, you’ll have a good idea of what type of tenant the person you are dealing with will make.
Leasing your rental to a new tenant sometimes feels like a gamble, but it doesn’t have to be. You can reduce your risk of future tenant issues by knowing the qualities all good tenants have and looking for those in applicants as you show the property and review the application.
You should make sure that the determining factors when you make your decision are measurable, such as the income-to-rent ratio and credit score.
A good tenant is responsible.
Not only does a good tenant pay the rent and other bills on time, but he mows the grass, pulls the weeds, changes the filters, and takes care of the day-to-day maintenance issues that are their responsibility. They also alert you to potential issues that require your attention, such as leaks or appliance malfunction.
Punctuality is your first indication whether a potential tenant is responsible. Check their credit report, too. If they don’t pay their bills on time, their credit score will reflect it. Also, watch for judgments for uncollected rent and damages. A responsible tenant will pay their rent on time and in full, and of course, they won’t damage the property.
A good tenant is respectful.
If your tenant doesn’t respect you, you’re in for trouble. They will likely try to take advantage of you by paying late or asking for concession after concession. You can tell whether they’ll respect you during tenancy by the way they treat you before tenancy. Trust your instincts on this.
Respect isn’t just limited to how they treat you. If the tenant isn’t respectful, they may abuse the property by doing things like slamming doors or letting children color on the walls. Or, they may simply neglect the property because they don’t respect you enough to care.
Also, a disrespectful tenant may also become a neighborhood nuisance because they don’t respect others enough to play their music at a reasonable decibel or keep the landscaping well-maintained.
A good tenant is able to pay.
This is a no-brainer. If a tenant isn’t able to afford the rent, you shouldn’t be surprised when they don’t pay the rent. A good rule of thumb is that the rent should not exceed 30 percent of the applicant’s income. In fact, you may want to make that one of the written criteria for qualifying to rent the property.
But, just because the rent rate is less than a certain percentage of the applicant’s total income, doesn’t guarantee that they will be able to pay. They may be overextended in other ways or live beyond their means. Again, a credit check is a good indicator of how the applicant manages money. Theoretically, the better they manage their finances, the better their credit score will be.
A good tenant is creditworthy.
Saying a tenant is creditworthy is another way to say they have a good credit score. The tenant’s credit score reflects whether they pay their bills on time, how much debt they have, and what type of debt they have. A detailed report may also indicate whether they have had judgments against them for uncollected rent or damages.
Running credit and background checks are an essential part of the application process along with verifying the applicant’s employment, verifying their rental history, and calling on their references. (A property manager will obtain the tenant’s credit score and verify their application if you use one to manage your properties.)
A good tenant is honest.
There are so many ways a dishonest tenant can trip you up. They can obviously lie about mailing the rent, having their hours cut, or not knowing why their check bounced, but they can also lie about what happened to the dishwasher or the information on their application.
During the application process, the only reliable way to catch a dishonest tenant is to verify the information on their application. Start by requesting a copy of their drivers’ license (most tenant screening services require one along with a completed application before running a credit-check). Do their name and information match what is on the application?
Next, call their employer. You’d be surprised at how many applicants don’t earn as much money as they say they do on the application. Follow that phone call with one to their current landlord, even if it’s their aunt. Have they really lived there for one year or just since they were evicted from the last rental? Finally, call any references, if listed, to get their impression of them.
A good tenant is clean
You want someone who will take good care of your property, not someone who is going to leave food remnants build up in the microwave or let trash pile up on the patio. Potentially, the bigger the mess the tenant makes while they are in your property, the bigger the mess you will have to deal with when they move out. Also, filth can attract bugs and other pests and lead to an infestation.
Refusing to rent to an applicant based solely on appearances can be a violation. Instead, cite a measurable indicator, such as their credit score, or the fact that they lied on their rental application.
However, if they meet all of your criteria, let them know what your expectations are for maintaining your property and include a “cleaning” clause in the lease. The “cleaning” clause will give you the opportunity to evict based on a violation of the lease if the property isn’t kept clean.
A good tenant is drama-free.
Some tenants thrive on drama. These are the tenants that call with excuse after excuse about why the rent is late: they lost their job, their wife left, their dog died. Their life is one problem after another, and you’re invited to the party.
It’s not as difficult to spot these tenants as you would think. They will tell you about their hard knock life (in fact, good luck getting them to shut up about it). Fortunately, these tenants often have histories of late payments and evictions, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a reason to not rent to them.
A good tenant doesn’t make excuses and doesn’t bother you unnecessarily with the details of their life.
*This article is syndicated and licensed from Realtor.GetWrittn.com.