Property Management Blog

The Secret of Finding and Keeping Good Tenants

Richey Property Management - Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Property Management Blog

It’s every landlord’s dream to have a good long-term tenant. If you’re reading this post, finding the right tenant and keeping them might feel like a challenge — but it doesn’t have to be.

Due diligence and good organization are key factors of attracting and keeping a good tenant, because your rental property is a business venture and it’s in your best interest to have your premises occupied. 

To have a solid cash flow, you need reliable tenants who pay on time and in full, month after month. High tenant turnover interrupts your cash flow, threatens your investment and it also costs you time and money.

The first question is how do you define a good tenant?

Good tenants aren’t about personality; they’re about objective facts. 

Here’s a list of defining factors that make up a perfect tenant:

  • Steady Monthly Income

Tenants need to provide proof of steady income that shows that they can afford the rent. 

  • Payment History

Does the tenant have an excellent track record of paying bills and previous landlords on time? A good tenant pays their rent on time or even before the due date.

  • Good Credit Score

Landlords looking for tenants should consider an applicants’ credit score, as this figure is usually an indication of their financial management skills.

  • References

Landlords can request references from an applicant. This can let you know what behavior they exhibit regarding attitudes towards employers, neighbors, tenant agreements, and payments.

  • No Criminal Records or History of Evictions

Screening a candidate gives you a valuable overview of tenant’s behaviors and reveal potential tendencies regarding your property.

So, how do you attract great tenants?

Step 1. Have a checklist and professional application forms

As a landlord, you should start the relationship with potential tenants on the right foot. Show the applicant that you’re professional, and it sets the tone for your landlord-tenant relationship from the start.
Obtain basic personal information on your application. Make sure it includes:

  • Full name of applicant or applicants
  • Social Security Number and birthdate
  • Current address and preferred contact information
  • Current employer and contact details
  • Personal financial institute
  • Current monthly income
  • Current payments to calculate a debt-to-income ratio
  • Personal references outside of family
  • Current and past employment references
  • Current and past credit references
  • Statement authorizing reference and credit inquiries

Prospective renters will be familiar with these types of requests. If they show hesitation to answer or leave a part blank, it could be a red flag, but offer to explain the form or answer any of their questions before making your assessment.

Step 2.  Advertise in the right places

To find a tenant in today’s world, your best option to reach a large number of applicants is online. Websites include Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Zillow (they charge a small fee) just to name a few. Write a good description, add great photos and your contact information to your listing and advertise through online platforms that rent homes. For further reach, post your listing onto social media pages for property rentals in your area – the right tenants are bound to come across.

In today’s pandemic, you also might consider offering a virtual tour of your property to attract a larger pool of applicants.
Step 3. Set Clear Expectations

It’s critical to be very clear and transparent with your tenant about the expectations as the tenant will be living at your property and caring for it. This includes things like:

  • Pets policy
  • Smoking restrictions
  • The exact rental period

Sharing your stand upfront will help you find tenants that are suitable by avoiding answering the same questions constantly and helping them adhere to policies.

Step 4. Conduct A Thorough Background Check

At Richey Property Management, we start all applications with a detailed background check where we inspect an applicant’s credit worthiness, criminal and eviction history. Screening companies can help you understand what procedures and steps are involved in running a background check on a tenant. An accurate background check will give you valuable data on someone’s criminal record and references.

By running a thorough tenant screening check on a tenant, landlords can potentially avert a costly eviction, which can average $3,500 in costs down the road. While some landlords are comfortable just reviewing a credit report for tenant screening, a more comprehensive tenant screening check can help landlords better understand the risks that may be associated with a potential renter. This means reviewing not only an applicant’s credit report.

Step 5: Maintain mutual respect to retain good tenants

Once you find a good tenant, a mutually respectful relationship will help to ensure the longest possible stay. Just as you expect them to pay their rent on time and keep the property in good shape, they expect you to keep up to date with maintenance and repairs. A lease agreement that outlines all of your policies (number of persons in the rental, payment due date, late fees, pets, smoking regulations, renter’s insurance requirements, etc.) can help you prevent confusion and miscommunication in the future.

  • Outline any and all provisions to the rental agreement in the lease agreement
  • Conduct a thorough background check
  • Fulfill your landlord obligations by maintaining the property and following through on repair requests
  • Under promise and over-deliver, as it’s essential to give your tenant the best customer service 

Hire a Property Management Company

How to find the right tenants for your property and how to keep them is a challenge every landlord faces. At Richey Property Management we are a team of professionals that offer the experience and resources to help you find and sign great, long-term tenants.

We have been managing properties since 2006 and our 700+ rental portfolio is progressively growing. We have set up effective systems to help our clients navigate the challenges of finding good tenants and our ultimate goal is to keep tenant turnover low and profits high for our clients.

Contact us today and we’re ready to help!  703-471-4800.  

We welcome your call!