Bad Tenants Can Cost Thousands: How To Choose Great Tenants For Your Rental Property

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Let’s face it. Not so many things matter to you as a landlord like finding that right match for your property. And what does an ideal tenant look like?


Well, they pay rent on time, hardly damage the property, are easy to work with, never bother their neighbours, and so on.

There’s also the tenant from hell. They are the exact opposite of an ideal tenant, exposing you to unfortunate experiences fueled by things like maintenance costs, property depreciation, tenant complaints, and damage done to property and/or neighbours, just to name but a few.

And as much as you may be tempted to toss them out of your property right away, the terms of your arrangement probably won’t allow it. Instead, you’ll have to handle whatever arises between both of you in the most professional manner possible in order to avoid complicating things further.

Is there a way to avoid all that? Absolutely yes. Invest in finding the right tenant for your property. Allow me to show you how to do so.

Set Expectations In Your Rental Listing

While setting up your online listing, set aside a paragraph where you inform prospective tenants of what to expect if they are interested in the advertised property. Be explicit about what they have to comply with or do.

You can mention that they have to submit a rental application complete with all the required documents, be ready to authorize credit checks, background checks, and other related procedures, pay a certain fee, and so on.

This way, you’ll be able to weed out potentially bad prospective tenants.  

Look Out For Red Flags

One ideal circumstance to determine if a tenant is fit to occupy your property is during the rental property showing. Pay attention to things like time-management – did they arrive on time? Did they show up? Are they friendly? How about their behaviour? Are they ready to consent to required procedures?

In the event the tenant doesn’t show up or shows up late without a valid apology, looks unprepared, appears to be rude, is unwilling to consent to the screening process, and so on, consider such findings red flags.

Also, after running background checks, ask yourself the following questions. Do they have a higher credit score? Is their criminal or civil lawsuits history good enough? If the answers are not sufficiently good, move on to the next tenant.

Screening And References

Screening has to be one of the most critical parts in the process of identifying an ideal client. Normally, you have to base it on what the prospective tenant submitted in their application and then go beyond what’s written on the papers.

Seek satisfactory answers to the following:

  1.       Can the tenant really pay the rent?
  2.       Do they have the capacity to properly maintain the property?
  3.       Can previous landlords vouch for them?

Go ahead and get permission to get in touch with current and previous employers and landlords.

Generally, there’s a lot more than you as a landlord should adhere to when screening tenants and deciding who to select and drop. You can make this process more effective by enlisting the help of a commercial property management company specialized in tenant screening services.

Once you’ve done all of the above, consider yourself ready to make a decision. In general, a great tenant would be the one that ticks the following points:

  • Is friendly and shows interest in your property
  • Consents to a background check and tenant screening process
  • Submits the rental application on time and complete with all the required documents
  • Has sufficient income and is a responsible employee
  • Has a history of meeting their rental obligation
  • Has a great credit score, solid financial history, and clean criminal record

Final Thoughts

As you focus on finding the ideal tenant for your property, also learn about the relevant act(s) that govern the relationship between tenants and landlords. Make sure you abide by the regulations.

In most countries and states, part of the act will include a section on what you as a landlord can and cannot use to deny a prospective tenant space in your property. That includes discrimination based on things like race, ethnicity, personal reasons, and so on.

That aside, don’t forget that if you do your job correctly and learn from your mistakes, you stand a greater chance of evading tenant-generated liabilities and achieving the peace of mind every landlord dreams of.

Author Bio:

Eric Worral has owned and managed rentals for over 9 years. Currently, he works in marketing at, a tenant screening service for landlords and property managers. He’s also the co-host of the “RentPrep for Landlords” podcast where he shares tips and insights on managing your rental properties.

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