As a landlord, when you’re renting out your investment properties there are two kinds of tenants. There are those that come and go quickly, staying only one or two short lease durations before moving on, and those who make their home in one of your residences, often seeking longer lease terms. While the first sort often departs too quickly to learn much about them, the personalities and tenant behaviors of your long term rental tenants matters a great deal. Ideally, you want tenants who treat the property with respect, work actively with your property manager on maintenance tasks, and are a joy to their neighbors but how do you make sure that that’s who you’re getting? After all, you don’t want to end up with someone you’ll eventually have to evict for bad behavior.
If you’re looking for a long-term tenant to settle down in one or more of your rental properties, someone who will treat both you and the home with respect, the key is tenant screening. There are ways to tell how well each person or family will behave in a rented property based on their personal and rental histories. Every person you consider for a long-term lease should come up with all positive results when you check their
Running a Background and Credit Check
Before allowing a tenant to sign a long-term lease, it’s important to know exactly what you’re dealing with, including things you know someone would rather not tell you. While a background and credit check may be personal information, they will reveal important insights about someone who could potentially be living in your property for many years in the future. You’re looking for someone with a clean criminal background and a strong credit score. Both will give you a good idea of how your prospective tenant lives their life.
Rental History and Landlord References
One of the most important parts of your due diligence is to check out a tenant’s rental history. How responsible has the tenant been in the past and what do their previous landlords have to say about them? Late rent payments, evictions, and filed complaints will all show up in their official rental history, giving you an idea of how they traditionally treat rental properties. You can also call up their previous landlords to ask how they were personally. While glowing recommendations are always a plus, a tenant who left little to no impression at all is also a great sign that they left the property exactly as they found it.
Job History and Income
A persons job history is one of the most revealing details about them. It reveals where they’ve worked and, more importantly, for how long at each location. Someone who changes jobs frequently may also be unstable and might change jobs again soon, indicating that their income may also be unstable. If they do have a stable income, you should also make sure that it is at least three times your asking rent or that they have a qualified co-signer.
Plans for Residence
Your final layer of screening is a simple practicality test. Do they have reasonable intentions for how they plan to live on your property? Make sure that if they have pets, they conform to the pet clause in your lease. If they have family, that there is room for everyone in the home. If they have a job location, that your house is not an impractical distance away. In most cases, tenants will have a perfectly reasonable plan, but it never hurts to check.
If your potential tenant passes every test with flying colors, then they are a great candidate for a long term renter. Chances are that they will be well behaved, responsible, and will help your property manager keep the home in good condition for the duration of their extended stay. For more helpful landlord and property management tips, contact us today!