Ask anyone who works in property management about the challenges they face on a regular basis, and the issue of problem tenants is bound to come up. If you own a rental property, you simply can’t take the risk of entrusting your valuable asset to just anyone – while a good tenant will help keep your property in good shape, a bad one can cost you thousands in repairs and inconvenience.
On the positive side, once you have found a good tenant and signed a comprehensive lease agreement you can rest easy. Property has been shown to be a good long-term investment, and good tenants can help ensure that the resale value of your secondary property doesn’t decrease due to damage.
Scratch the surface
When screening prospective tenants, remember that appearances can be deceiving. You may think that a sharp dresser who seems successful and able to afford the rent would be an ideal tenant, but remember that a background and credit check is always in order to confirm that the person is who they say they are.
The best type of tenant is one who can afford the rent and who has a good record of letting from other landlords. You may request a reference from the current landlord and contact the person to confirm that he or she was satisfied with the tenant’s ability to pay and the condition of the property during the tenant’s stay.
Remember the deposit
When you set your security deposit, remember that most landlords now require at least 6 weeks’ rent as a deposit and a month’s rent in advance. Though this is your decision, and is negotiable with the tenant, the cost of repairs when the tenant vacated the property may be high and a larger deposit protects you from incurring large costs.
When in doubt, leave it to the pros
If you’re having trouble screening prospective tenants or would prefer not to be the first person they call when a problem arises (some tenants can be very demanding), consider approaching a rental agent to manage your property.
For a small fee, an agent will screen prospective tenants and collect the rent monthly on your behalf. Any queries from the tenant’s side will also be fielded by the agent, who will communicate them to you.