Good tenants can make or break your rental business. Unfortunately, some tenants will inevitably turn out to be a waste of your time. Trustworthy, respectful tenants, however, are worth every penny you invest in them.
Tenant screening is your only way to secure the high-quality tenants you’re looking for. Screening also mitigates the risks associated with bad tenants, including those who may be careless, unreliable, or downright destructive.
Here are five qualities of a good tenant and how to look for them.
A good tenant is honest from day one. They will be upfront and open about potential financial issues and are the first to admit when something isn’t working for them.
You can assess honesty right from the moment you receive a tenant’s application. If a renter lied about anything on their application that you can prove with a credit or background check, this is grounds for an immediate denial.
Even if a tenant didn’t lie about big concerns like an eviction or criminal conviction, smaller details like prior addresses or references matter too. If the information a renter provided isn’t adding up, they probably aren’t worth your time.
Integrity is another quality of a great tenant. You want tenants who have established moral principles and a strong sense of right and wrong. Tenants with integrity are more likely to consistently pay rent on time, follow rules and lease terms, and respect your property.
A tenant on the opposite end of the spectrum won’t bother with any of these concerns. Lease agreement or not, rules are optional at best for them. A tenant without integrity won’t bother to take care of your property, pay late fees, or take responsibility for damage they caused.
- Financially Responsible
This one goes without saying. Your business only works if both parties adhere to the terms of the original agreement. If your tenants are repeatedly skimping on rent, neglecting late fees, or spending their paycheck before rent is due, your business can’t function.
Instead, look for financially independent and responsible tenants. These renters will follow through with payments, budget their expenses, and respect that rent is one of their primary financial obligations.
Plus, it’s much easier to offer incentives or negotiate with tenants whom you already know are financially responsible. You wouldn’t agree to a rent negotiation with a tenant who never pays on time in the first place, but for a loyal, responsible tenant you might.
If you want your best tenants to stick around, be sure they’re financially responsible.
- Low Maintenance
Every landlord has a story or experience with a high-maintenance tenant. These kinds of people make poor clients or customers in any industry. A renter who asks questions is good, but one who absorbs your resources or makes relentless requests is not.
High-maintenance renters are easy to spot. If a tenant peppers you with questions about repairs, renovations, or special exceptions when these things are mostly unnecessary, take note that this tenant might be high maintenance.
A good tenant is low-maintenance. They are independent, capable of solving their own problems, and understand boundaries. You should encourage your tenants to reach out to you with questions and concerns, but a good tenant is resourceful enough to only need you as a last resort.
- Good Communicator
Finally, the ideal tenant is an excellent communicator. If problems or issues do arise, this tenant can communicate about them concisely and respectfully.
Great tenants also take the initiative with communication. For instance, let’s say a tenant has a frequent overnight guest. You may have a clause in your lease establishing how long guests can stay without being added to the lease. But maybe your tenant has a reasonable explanation for the frequent guest—for example, maybe the guest has an unsafe living situation and is in the process of finding new housing.
A good tenant will reach out to you in advance to explain the reason and duration of the guest’s stay. Instead of waiting for you to notice when something’s off, they will take the initiative in communicating the situation.
Great Tenants, Great Business
Tenants are the heart of your business. Without reliable tenants, you wouldn’t be able to sustain the rental business you’ve built. By purposely searching for tenants with honesty, integrity, financial responsibility, independence, and communication skills, you can count on your tenants to help your business thrive.