You may be a new landlord or one that has been in the business for years. Either way, renting to a new tenant can be a very stressful and uneasy time for you. Not only do you have to make wild assumptions about renters without prior knowledge of them, but you have to trust what they are telling you on applications or in person.
Renters can make first impressions of all kinds. You may try to discern the type of person they are based on appearance, how educated they may seem, or by what they tell you about themselves. The reality of the situation is that you may be making your assumptions about who they are based on the wrong information.
Anyone can proclaim to be someone they aren't. You may be catching a very responsible and outstanding citizen on a bad day. You may be catching a crook on a very good day. The fact of the matter is that you cannot rely on potential tenants' appearances for a correct assumption about their reliability or responsibility.
Another bad mistake to make is to base your assumptions on the renters' ages. Some landlords typically rent to older people because they assume that older renters are less likely to cause damage, are more responsible, and will not cause any trouble. Older renters can cause just as much damage to property or stop paying rent just like other renters of different ages could.
A big mistake that landlords make is to rent without asking for references. References can tell the story of responsible and irresponsible renters alike. A person who cannot provide previous landlord references should be respectfully passed by.
You will also want references from their employers to verify employment. If a renter does not want to provide employment information, you can be assured that they are not a tenant that you'd want to rent to. A responsible tenant will be able to provide you with proof of employment and be happy to do so.
Speaking to a potential tenant is a way to get to know them. Landlords should always ask renters questions about their intentions and rental history before handing over the keys to any rental property. When you don't ask questions, you are not being proactive in protecting your property and other tenants.
Ask them why they are moving. If the tenant is hesitant to answer, they may be trying to hide important information. Ask them if they have any pets, frequent visitors, and if they have ever been evicted. Of course, a tenant could always lie, but the way in which they answer or hesitate may give you answers that you need to be wary of. It is always good practice to ask questions in the application form.
Consent to Tenant Screening
The number one mistake that landlords make when renting to new tenants is a failure to ask for consent to a tenant screening. A background and credit checks are the most important things a landlord should obtain before allowing a tenant access to rental property. A screening will allow landlords to verify the answers that applicants gave them.
A screening can also tell landlords information that the tenants would not be willing to provide on their own. These may be subjects like criminal histories, repossessions, and evictions. A background and credit check is the most valuable tool for landlords to protect themselves against bad tenants.
When landlords take certain precautions and avoid the mistakes that others have made in the past, they have a higher rate of success when renting to new tenants. Knowing what to expect from a tenant is one of the most crucial elements to successful renting stories.