Finding Good Tenants

Written by Posted On Thursday, 26 April 2018 17:23

The most critical thing a landlord can do is find a compatible tenant or tenants for the place he or she is renting. You don’t have to be best friends with your tenant even if you live in the same house; no one expects the two of you to a create a fantasy football draft board together. But you should be able to trust that your tenant won’t do anything too outrageous or irresponsible. The interests of a landlord and tenant won’t always line up exactly, but creating a foundation based on mutual respect is key.

How you advertise

People can’t rent your house or apartment if they don’t know it’s available, so it’s up to you to research the local housing market and find the most effective ways to advertise your rental. Sites like Craigslist are useful because they’re free and widely read, but it’s worth paying to post a few ads elsewhere as well. For one thing, Craigslist tends to attract a lot of shady characters who may be looking to scam you rather than rent from you. So check out other popular apartment hunting sites and pick a few that make sense to you.

Be careful not to run afoul of any equal housing laws, however. It’s illegal to refuse to rent to people because they’re a member of a protected class. It can even be illegal to say something like, “Congratulations on your pregnancy, but babies are too loud and will disturb the other tenants.” Yes, even family status is a protected class. That doesn’t mean you have to automatically rent out your space to someone in a protected class, but you can’t deny or discourage them because of their protected class. It’s a sometimes subtle difference, but it’s absolutely critical to understand. Talk to a real estate attorney if you still have questions about your legal obligations.

Moving day

Once you’ve taken some applications and settled on a tenant, make sure the lease you have them sign is clear and detailed. You can’t randomly penalize them for, say, storing their bicycle on the back porch if back porch usage isn’t specifically outlined in the lease. A strong lease helps you both be aware of the expectations on either side. Feel free to ask your tenant if there’s anything else you can help them with while they’re settling in. Maybe they need to find cheap storage units to store some of their furniture, or maybe they just want to know the best place in town to get coffee. It doesn’t mean you have to solve all their problems; if they need a California personal injury attorney, tell them that’s outside your area of expertise. Do what you can within reason to make them feel welcome. It’s good manners, and it makes it more likely they’ll want to renew their lease down the road.

After that, it’s your job to keep the lines of communication open in case anything comes up. If they need repairs, they should be able to come to you and put in a maintenance request without any blowback. Respect their space, too. If the lease says that you’ll provide at least 24 hours notice before entering the apartment to perform routine maintenance, then stick with that. Don’t barge in unannounced at 7 a.m. in the morning. It’s your property, but it’s their home, even if only for the duration of the lease.

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James Stevenson

Hi, My name is James and I've been involved in the property and real estate industry for 10 years now. I hope people will like to read about my thoughts and experiences in the industry and please contact me if you want to discuss my articles further!

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