How to Weed Out Problem Tenants

March 6, 2015

The last thing a landlord wants to do is rent to the wrong tenant. So for property managers who are taking care of the leasing details, they are the first line of defense in keeping problem tenants out of the building. Landlords are leaning on these property managers and expecting them to find renters who aren’t going to damage the property, be late with rent payments, or take the landlords to court.

So how do you ensure your tenants are the right ones? Global real estate network Lamudi offers five tips for selecting a good tenant.

  1. Meet the applicants. This is about preventing problems before they start. The rapport you have with tenants will be crucial in enduring their happiness living in a property. Schedule face-to-face meetings with applicants to get a better sense of who they will be as tenants and how you can work with them. If you can’t meet face-to-face, schedule a phone call instead.
  2. Be thorough with documentation. Keep a copy of tenants’ identity cards or passports, and require proof of income before administering a lease agreement. Ask for an employee contract as well as copies of their most recent paystubs. If you need extra confirmation of a tenant’s ability to pay, ask for them to provide previous landlords as references.
  3. Check their credit history. This might seem like something more for a home buyer than a renter, but landlords/property managers should always check a tenant’s credit history. This will tell you how much outstanding debt they have, as well as whether they have a history of paying their bills on time. Even if they can afford the rent on their salary, other repayment obligations may affect their budget.
  4. Look out for warning signs. Pay attention to a prospective tenant’s rental history. If they’ve moved around a lot, that could indicate issues between the tenant and their past landlords. Most landlords will want a tenant who can commit to staying for a longer period of time.
  5. Listen to your instincts. Even if all the information and documentation a renter provided checks out, there may still be something holding you back from offering them a rental contract. If you feel uncomfortable renting to someone, listen to your gut — even if they look good on paper.

—REALTOR® Magazine