How to Find Good Tenants for Your Rental Home
More and more people across the United States are renting instead of buying homes. 34% of America’s general population rents, and nationally since 2010, renter numbers have increased two times faster than the number of homeowners. As individuals young and old flock to rentals, landlords must be able to differentiate between various tenants and find reliable ones to lease their properties. Here are some tips on how to find good tenants for your rental home.
1. Require a security deposit
Pro industry tip: a sizeable security deposit amount can help you determine whether a renter has enough money to pay their rent on time or not. Additionally, it's a simple way to protect yourself against future damages. It's smart to require at least a month's rent upfront for this deposit. A property that's advertised at $1,000 a month should have at least a $1,000 security deposit.
Make sure to include guidelines around your security deposit so renters know what to expect. Some people may think their security deposit counts as one month's rent — make sure to specify otherwise.
2. Choose reputable websites to advertise on
Most landlords advertise their rentals online since it’s much easier to reach a broader audience and maintain multiple listings at once. But with the internet comes a few risks. You'll never know who's actually behind an interested renter’s account until you meet them face-to-face. That's why it's essential to stick with reputable platforms for your listings. You'll find more legitimate renters who actively want to find a new home vs. scammers. Rentals.com, as well as the other sites within the RentPath network (Rent.com, Apartment Guide and Lovely), are all reputable sites to advertise on. And when you list your property on Rentals.com, your listing automatically gets pushed to these sites as well.
3. Draft thorough leases
If you create a thorough, well-worded lease, it's easier to protect your rental property. You should outline your expectations as a landlord, as well as any legal requirements. This suggestion doesn't mean you should be overly strict with your tenants. It's merely a way for you to weed out anyone who may have issues with regular upkeep and other tenant-related responsibilities.
Finding tenants that will keep your rental property in good condition from the beginning of their lease until the end is crucial. To help keep your property maintained, consider restrictions related to the number of people that can live in the rental at once, as well as pet rules. Some landlords allow pets in their rentals under certain conditions, such as only allowing certain types of animals, breeds and limiting the number of pets allowed. Consider requiring upkeep of each animal’s grooming since a pet’s nails can wreak havoc on interior flooring and furniture.
4. Screen every candidate
As soon as someone shows interest in your rental, you should ask to screen them. It’s also smart to ask for a prospective tenant's references when trying to find good tenants — their previous landlords and current employer are good options. Make sure you have at least three people to contact so you can get multiple opinions on an individual.
Always remember to consult Fair Housing Act guidelines as you gauge potential tenants. Otherwise, you could inadvertently discriminate against a potential resident, which is against the law.
5. Meet renters face-to-face
Strive to have a few face-to-face conversations with potential renters before agreeing to lease to them when trying to find good tenants. It can seem easier to stick with email communication, but it's worth the extra effort to really know who your renters are. Don't hesitate to also organize a phone call and/or video chat if you think they're seriously interested. You can discuss the rental, show them photos of the property and answer any questions.
That said, tread lightly. You shouldn't interview potential tenants as there are other ways to screen candidates. You could open yourself up to quick judgments that lead to discrimination issues. But it's still beneficial to have a "real" conversation with a prospective renter. As a result, they'll also know more about you and likely feel more comfortable with you as their landlord.
Use these tips to lease responsibly
It’s easier than you may think to find good tenants. These measures can make a big difference for you as a landlord. Use these tips to ensure you find reliable tenants to rent your properties.