"Once you have selected your tenant and they have moved into the property, ensure you make every effort to attend to any maintenance issues promptly."
How to find and hold good tenants
A tenant can make or break a landlord’s experience of owning a rental property.
Finding good tenants and keeping them happy is one of the best investments a landlord can make.
Sourcing good tenants is one of the most important tasks for landlords who manage their own investment properties.
By ensuring they have a positive experience while living at your property, they may be more likely to pay their rent on time, stay in your property longer and treat it as if it were their own.
Here are some tips to find and hold on to great tenants:
Think about the type of tenant you want to attract
Keeping a good tenant happy begins before you’ve even purchased your rental property.
When choosing a property to invest in, think about the tenant demographic you want to attract, for example a family, sole tenant or couple, and choose a home that is likely to appeal to them.
Properties that are close to good schools, shops and public transport are likely to be well sought after and may give you a larger pool of prospective tenants from which to choose.
Keep up appearances
No one wants to live in a property that has stained carpets and marked walls. A home that is poorly presented by the landlord may deter good tenants from applying to rent your property in the first instance, and be poorly cared for by the successful tenant.
Similarly, a property that requires as little maintenance as possible will make life much easier for both tenants and landlords as it will minimise the effort and cost involved in the upkeep of the home once the tenant has moved in.
Presenting a clean, tidy, low-maintenance and well cared for property will encourage tenants to treat the property as if it were their own.
In order to generate interest in the lease of your property, landlords may be required to place advertisements in newspapers, on various real estate websites and on online noticeboards. The advertisement should include information about the property, when open inspections are scheduled for, and the lease application deadline.
It is a good idea to arrange open inspections at times that would be convenient to the type of tenant you want to attract.
For example, if you would like to attract young professionals, arrange the open inspection after working hours so it is easy for people to attend.
At the open inspection, ensure you talk with as many potential tenants as possible so you can put faces to names when processing lease applications later on.
After the lease application deadline has closed, landlords will be required to screen potential tenants.
The first step is to contact the employer of your preferred tenant to confirm that the information they have provided regarding their position, length of employment and salary is correct.
It is also important to contact their previous landlord to discuss any issues that arose during their last tenancy, as well as the personal referees listed in their application.
If an applicant is applying for his or her first lease and has no previous record of renting, speaking with responsible adults such as school teachers may suffice.
If you are a member of a specific real estate industry association, you may have access to a tenant database which you can also use to search the names of your shortlisted potential tenants to find out whether there are any recorded issues with previous leases.
Attend to maintenance issues promptly
Once you have selected your tenant and they have moved into the property, ensure you make every effort to attend to any maintenance issues promptly.
It can be quite frustrating for tenants if their requests for repairs go unanswered, and if they aren’t getting the attention they deserve they may begin to question their commitment to your property and become more careless with it.
Injury or loss resulting from a safety hazard that has not been attended to might also give rise to a costly legal liability claim.
Responding to maintenance issues in a timely manner signals to your tenant that you care about the property and value their concern for its condition. This can contribute to creating a positive renting experience for your tenant.
Even if you do find good tenants, it is important to not take them for granted and rely on them to make sure nothing goes wrong.
Even the best tenant can accidentally damage a property or lose his or her job and be unable to pay rent.
Every landlord should have a tailored landlord insurance policy that covers both malicious and accidental damage, legal liability and loss of rental income.
Landlords can also enhance risk management by appointing a property manager.
The time and effort that property managers can save landlords as well as the experience and knowledge they provide can be well worth the cost for their services.
A property manager can also help to find tenants, ensure the correct paperwork is in place, assist landlords to form a professional relationship with their tenant, collect the rent, conduct property inspections and liaise with the tenant on behalf of the landlord.
Carolyn Majda is insurance manager at landlord insurance specialist Terri Scheer Insurance.