Working as a landlord can be difficult enough, having to market your space, find and manage tenants, and keep the building clean and up to code. There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. But having a difficult tenant can just make things even more difficult. Whether they’re disruptive to the neighbors or they are consistently late in paying their rent, a problematic tenant can be distracting and stressful.
As long as you have good reasons for your decisions and you’re not breaking any housing discrimination laws, you get to decide who will run out your space. There are a number of things one should do when screening for potential tenants. First, a short list of red flags and things you should probably avoid:
- Insufficient Income. People should be on the lookout for housing that they can afford on their current income. If the prospective tenant does not make enough to afford your space, then you should probably turn them away. You don’t want the end of the month to arrive and then find that they can’t pay their rent.
- Prior Evictions. While this isn’t always the case, prior evictions do often indicate problematic behavior or circumstances. Take a look at their rental history, and get references from previous landlords.
- High maintenance. Everyone is entitled to their own input, but perhaps a prospective tenant seems a bit too particular. This doesn’t bode well for a long-term business relationship between landlord and tenant.
These are things that should be avoided during the screening process. Below is a list of things to look for that may indicate a good tenant:
- Stable Income. The prospective tenant has a steady job with reliable income. It’s recommended that landlords look for an income that is 2-3 times the rental fee. That way, there shouldn’t be any late payments or requests for an extension on the payment due.
- Polite & Respectful. During your interview, observe how they conduct themselves and how they interact with the people you come into contact with. Are they friendly and polite? This is a good indicator that they won’t disrupt the neighbors or cause any damage to your property.
- No Eviction History. Be sure to get references during the screening process. If they have no prior history of eviction, then it’s safe to assume that they haven’t caused any issues.
The important thing is to ask the right questions and follow your intuition. Build good rapport with your tenants, and you’ll get along nicely. For more tips and tricks on the housing market and the responsibilities of a landlord, follow the Talley Properties blog.