How to Find Reliable Tenants

find reliable tenants

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Demand for rental property is increasing dramatically every year. This means that it’s becoming more challenging for tenants to find a suitable property in their price range, which means you’re likely to have a backlog of applicants. As a property manager, you owe it to your property owners and your other tenants to find the very best applicants among the pool of candidates.

Here are some steps to take to make sure your new tenants are lovely, not lemons:

Check their references and rental history.

Look for recommendations from previous landlords. Consider how long the applicant lived in their previous apartment, whether they regularly paid their rent on time, and the condition in which they left the property. Verify this information if provided by the prospective tenant. Other references can include character profiles from employers.

Check their credit and employment history.

Credit checks are a good indicator of a tenant’s payment history. They will also reveal any bad debts or bankruptcies. This lets you know if the tenant is likely to keep up with rent payments, in addition to preventing your property from being visited by bailiffs and debt collection agencies.

Trust your instincts about an individual.

Even if their references seem to check out, if you feel uneasy about letting your property to them, don’t. There is a lot of demand for properties, so it is unlikely that you will be left with an empty unit for long. This can help prevent trouble, stress, and expense in the long run.

Always make sure you obtain a deposit before handing over the keys to a new tenant.

Different properties will require varying deposit amounts, but the usual fee is between 4-6 weeks rent payment. This should always be placed in a separate bank account.

Meet your tenants prior to making agreements with them.

This can give you the most insight into an individual’s personality and behavior. It also allows you to make an accurate judgment about whether you would feel comfortable dealing with them throughout the duration of the tenancy. Trust between both tenants and landlords is vital, and this can be created through meeting face to face.

Try to avoid making rushed decisions because you need to rent the property.

Obviously it’s not ideal to have long periods of time when the unit is empty and you are not receiving rent. However, having to take on a tenant you are less than happy with will not solve the problem for long. Remember, it takes time to find a suitable tenant, so bear this in mind when scheduling viewings if your current tenants are planning on vacating once their tenancy has finished.

Try to research what competing property managers are offering in their properties.

If local options are of a higher standard than your housing, it may be a good idea to bring it up to the same level to avoid attracting less desirable tenants.

Know your property inside out, as well as the local area.

Be prepared for the typical questions a tenant will ask during viewings. It is an opportunity for you to showcase your property and promote yourself as a property manager, so make sure you are friendly and helpful to prospective tenants.

A key skill to develop as a property manager is finding good tenants. They’ll give you far fewer headaches, which means you can spend less time putting out fires and more time creating a rental community that will make you love coming to work.


You can read more on All Things Property Management, Buildium’s official blog. Buildium offers Zillow readers a free 15-day trial of its software.

This is a guest post by Sian Morgan. Sian Morgan is with Amron Properties in North Tyneside, UK.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

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