Property Management Blog

Choosing the Right Tenant for Your Rental Property

System - Monday, October 3, 2016
If you’re a property owner, you know that choosing the right tenant for your rental is crucial. Taking the time to find a good tenant is an investment in your property and can help maintain its beauty and value. So, how can you tell a good tenant from a bad tenant? Luckily, it’s easy if you know what information to look for and where to get it. Here are a few tips on what to look for before you make the decision to rent:   Check Their Credit Score Rental applicants with good credit scores are more likely to be fiscally responsible and to pay their bills on time. Before you decide to rent to someone, be sure to get a complete picture of their credit history by validating their income and running a credit check. An ideal tenant will have an income of 3 times the amount of the rent, will have a low debt-to-income ratio, and will pay their bills consistently, and on time.   Perform A Criminal Background Check Running a criminal background check will give you insight into the character of your potential tenant. Although every state has different rules on which criminal offenses warrant the dismissal of a rental application, it is always better to know more about your potential tenant than not. To run a criminal background check, you will need a valid ID and date of birth. Then, because doing the background check yourself can be extremely time consuming, it is recommended you hire a professional tenant screening company to run the check for you. Often, these tenant screening companies will offer to run the background check and the credit check at the same time, making it even easier to get all the information you need in one place!   Explore Their Rental History A tenant’s rental history will give you a better picture of what type of tenant your applicant is. Before you rent to a new tenant, you will want to know as much as possible about their rental history. Be sure to ask potential renters for the name and contact information of their previous landlord so you can give them a call. Once you’ve gotten in touch with a renter’s previous landlord, be sure to ask them the following:  
  • Did they pay the rent on time?
  • Were they evicted?
  • Did they give appropriate notice before moving?
  • Did they leave the unit in good condition?
  • Did neighbors complain about them?
  Once you’ve gathered all this information you’ll have a complete picture of what kind of tenant your potential renter is. The best tenants, of course, will be ones that have a stable job and income, pay their bills consistently, have little to no debt, and have a history of being neat, courteous, respectful renters. Remember, your desire to find the right tenant for your rental property doesn’t exclude you from following Federal Fair Housing Rules. That said, by following a combination of Fair Housing guidelines and these simple tips, you will likely end up with great tenants! For more property management and rental tips, contact the friendly property management experts at Zenith Properties NW. Call us at 360-696-3111 or email us at info@zenithpro.com. We’d love to hear from you!