How to Select the Right Tenants for Your Rental Property
As a rental property owner, your goal is to fill your properties with tenants who are reliable, considerate, and stable—meaning they’ll likely stick around and renew their lease. But how do you know who will be a good tenant for your rental? We go through some basic steps to follow when selecting tenants.
Follow the Law
It should go without saying that housing discrimination is illegal. Whatever your definition of the “right tenants,” is, it can’t be based on race, sex, religion, national origin, disability status, or family status. Federal, state, and local laws prohibit discrimination, but may differ in their specifics from county to county or town to town. Consult an expert if you’re not sure whether criteria you want to use to assess potential tenants could get you accused of discrimination.
Screen All Prospective Tenants
Explain to interested prospects who contact you that you screen all potential tenants the same way with a credit check, income and employment verification, reference check, criminal background check, and prior eviction report. Some states, however, prohibit discrimination on the basis of certain types of criminal history. Check with your lawyer, a local landlord’s association, or knowledgeable property management company in your area about this.
Talk to Previous Landlords
You may want to speak with a prospective tenant’s previous landlord. Ask if the tenant paid their rent on time, if they followed the rules, and if they kept the property clean and undamaged (other than normal wear and tear). Ask prior landlords if they got a lot of complaints about the tenant as well. You should wait until you receive the results of background and credit checks before making a decision about who you will accept as a tenant.
Ask About Reasons for Moving
Ideally, you want a tenant who will stick around and renew their lease for several years. People with a history of switching jobs and moving around a lot will likely continue to do so. Ask prospective tenants why they’re moving and what they look for in a rental. Just remember to remain honest about what your property offers, and don’t make promises you can’t keep.
If you want to know how to select the right tenants for your rental property in the greater Atlanta area, contact Excalibur Homes, an experienced investment property management firm. Excalibur can help find and screen tenants, as well as collect rent and handle maintenance issues for investment property owners.