Great expectations? Good luck!
To paraphrase Forrest Gump, renters are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. There are many different types of tenants, and without a methodical screening process, it’s hard to tell whether your prospective renter is a house proud Howard or a Johnnie-pay-lately. While unfortunately that’s always a risk with a rental investment, you can improve your odds by knowing the right questions to ask and the vital info to gather.
Looking for hay in a stack of needles
Ask for contact details of at least two previous landlords if possible. If the applicant was a problem tenant, the current landlord may be inclined to gloss over their flaws, just so you’ll take them off his or her hands! Here are the key questions you should ask a previous landlord:
- Did they pay their rent on time?
- What was the reason for the move?
- Were they evicted for rent arrears or breaking the rules?
- Were they mostly clean and tidy?
- Did they damage the property (beyond normal wear and tear)?
- Were they respectful of their neighbours?
- Did they complain often, or about insignificant things?
Don’t settle for an unsettled tenant
Try to get a well rounded picture of their prior addresses and employment. If they hop around houses a lot, they may not be your best bet for a consistent, settled tenant. And if they’ve switched jobs often, they may not have a consistent income to be able to pay the rent. Ask to speak to their current employer, to gauge the likelihood of their jumping ship.
All tenants are created equal. But some are more equal than others.
Ok, so now you’ve found ‘the ones’. What should you expect? While you’re unlikely to find the perfect tenant, there are a few basic expectations that they should be meeting. Paying rent and any other bills on time is pretty darn important. As is not using your nest egg as a den of (illegal) iniquity, or running some sort of informal hostel by having ten flatmates instead of the agreed four.
For a full list of what you can realistically expect from a tenant, download our free e-Book, written especially for landlords.
If you manage to find a great, long-term tenant – hold on tight! Possibly even marry them off to one of your relatives so they stick around. (We are mostly kidding about this.) It’s bound to make your life easier, and less downtime between tenants means more money in your pocket.