How To Find (And Keep) The Perfect Tenant
Ideal tenants are clean and respectful. They’ll take care of your property and report minor problems before they do serious damage. If your property is in a good neighborhood, you probably don’t have to worry about severe intentional damage. Although, even good tenants come with their own set of challenges. For instance, you might have a hard time getting ahold of a tenant, or they might not be home when you’ve scheduled time to make a repair.
It seems that perfect tenants are mythical creatures, but that’s because perfect tenants aren’t perfect people. What defines a perfect tenant is their willingness to cooperate when problems arise. A perfect tenant is still human. They might cause accidental damage to your property or be late with rent periodically, but they’ll always be accountable to the rental agreement they signed.
Instead of looking for a tenant who won’t make a mistake, look for the following traits that indicate reliability, responsibility, and integrity. Finding tenants with these traits makes your job easier, and keeps your rental income flowing by reducing vacancy rates.
- A prospective tenant that reads the lease and asks questions
A good tenant will read the lease carefully and will notice when a contract doesn’t specify maintenance requirements, rent responsibilities, eviction policies, and deposit terms. A tenant that asks for lease clarification is a tenant that wants to protect themselves and do things legitimately.
Good tenants feel uncomfortable with ambiguous agreements because they know ambiguity can lead to disagreements. For instance, when buying an investment property in Houston, issuing an unclear contract can be the source of later arguments. Texas has specific policies both landlords and tenants must follow. To obtain good tenants, your rental agreement needs to be specific and reflect landlord-tenant law.
- A potential tenant that shows up early
Showing up to appointments on time is good, but those who show up early generally have a higher level of managing responsibilities. They’re the people who get up two hours early when it’s snowing to get work on time, even if it means sitting in an empty office for an hour.
A potential tenant that shows up fifteen minutes early to meet with you is probably more responsible than most other candidates. Showing up early means they’ve allowed time for breakdowns. Most people prefer to ignore the potential for breakdowns and proceed with their day as if nothing could go wrong. When something goes wrong, they don’t communicate. They just show up late full of excuses.
- A potential tenant that calls you when they’re going to be late
Sometimes people can’t help being late. It happens to the best of us. Kids, traffic, and other unexpected last minute distractions often occur beyond our control. Responsible people will call to let you know they’re going to be late. They won’t email or text you, hoping to avoid live communication.
Don’t be fooled by every phone call. Irresponsible people will call you five minutes before the appointment or even ten minutes after the appointment time. People who wait until the last minute to call knew they’d be late well ahead of time and are rushing through traffic, hoping for a miracle. Responsible people recognize the reality of being late and will call you with plenty of time to spare.
Letting people know they’re going to be late in advance is a sign that a person is aware of how their actions will impact others. This is the type of tenant who would call you the moment they see a leak in the ceiling.
- No excuses when they’re late, just communication
A strong sign of a good tenant is the absence of excuses. If they are late to an appointment, they’ll simply apologize for being late. They’ll take full ownership of their actions regardless of reasons. They won’t describe how their entire day fell apart from the moment they woke up, attempting to absolve their lateness.
A tenant who can acknowledge being late without excuses is more likely to report accidental damage to your property instead of waiting for you to find it when they move out.
Keeping perfect tenants
When you’ve found responsible, reliable tenants without excuses, naturally you’ll want to keep them as long as possible. The best way to keep these tenants is by reflecting back to them the same level of respect and reliability they show you. Stick to your agreements. Perform repairs in a timely manner. Most of all, acknowledge your mistakes and follow through on your promises.