You may have heard of instances where a tenant leaves the property disrupted and runs away without paying for the damages, or where tenants steal items from apartments and leave the landlords to deal with losses. You go to a tenants and landlords association meet and there are countless such stories where tenants gave their landlords a tough time. These events not only create worry in the minds of other landlords but also propel them to consciously look for good tenant qualities in their prospective occupant. After multiple conversations with various landlords, we understood the need to come up with a suitable framework to help them pick the right tenant for their properties. To answer the question of how to pick a good tenant, here are a few tips:
1. Meet your prospective tenant in person
To begin with, if you want something to work out for you, don’t be callous about it. Many a times landlords get references of tenants from a third party and never really interact with them even after they start residing in their property. However, the ideal way to go about it is by meeting your prospective tenant in person. Converse with them, get to know them and use your fair judgement to understand if they possess good tenant qualities. It may not be possible to gauge a lot in just one meeting but it always gives you a basic understanding of whether or not they can respectfully inhabit your property.
2. Choose a tenant with a good credit score
The most common litigation cases on rental properties involve either late payments or no payments made by the tenant. This usually happens when the tenant is not financially sound and is in debt. So, the lesson for you here is to opt for a tenant with good credit. You can verify their financial standing in two steps. The first step is to verify the income. Ask for copies of their payslip. Ideally, your tenant’s income should be at least three times the monthly rent. The next step involves running a credit score check, wherein you can begin by finding out if they pay their bills on time. Also, check for their income to debt ratio. You can also look for any record of bankruptcies. These facts will give you a clear picture of their financial health and how consistently will they be able to pay rent.
3. Check for criminal record
Well, you don’t want to be held up for investigations by the Royal Mounted Canadian Police. Sometimes, you never realize that the occupant in your property could have had a criminal record and whose intentions come out only in the future and that too very unexpectedly. From your side you can make sure that you don’t get into any criminal hassle by performing a thorough background check. Criminal information is usually available publicly and can be viewed at various courthouses. This will help you find information on all kinds of crimes the tenant was charged for including all minor and major offenses.
4. Ask your friends to look out for a tenant
Another way of going about this is by asking your friends to get you a tenant. If you were an ardent follower of the BBC Sherlock series, you would know how Sherlock had asked a friend to fetch him a suitable tenant, and that’s how John Watson and Sherlock meet each other. Well, the point we are trying to make here is that usually friends can come up with good references for tenants. The reason for this being these references are usually friends of friends. Basically, they are more reliable than a complete stranger. Plus, if your friend already knows the person, then that saves you the trouble of doing a thorough check as you will anyway get all the information you need.
5. Opt for a stable tenant
You should also consider checking the tenant’s rental history. This includes the number of rental properties shifted over a period of time, the frequency of job change, the number of jobs changed etc. If you observe that this person keeps shifting jobs and rental properties time and again, then you know that this pattern is likely to repeat itself in the near future and you will be left to look out for another tenant very soon. Some landlords are okay with this but if you are not then be careful not to have someone unstable as your next tenant.
6. Follow the law
In Alberta, the main governing bylaw for landlords and tenants is the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). Following the law is important for both tenants and landlords. As per the law, landlords are not supposed to discriminate prospective tenants on the basis of sex, gender, race, and nationality. They are also supposed to make their premises available on the date the residential tenancy agreement takes effect. They are also supposed to ensure that the rental property is habitable in the beginning and all throughout. Make sure you go through the Tenancy laws in your province before you get a tenant on board.
7. Trust your instincts
Sometimes no matter how hard you try, you might just not end up finding all the information you need about a person or everything might seem okay about the person but your gut tells you otherwise. In that case, what you should do is trust your instincts. This might sound irrational to a few people but in most cases your instincts never fail you. If you feel something is fishy about the person, then there is a high likelihood that they might not be a good fit for you.
You can also get yourself listed on a popular rental properties website to get good leads for your property. Get in touch with us and we will help you out.