Is it as hard as finding a needle in a haystack?
The short answer to this question is: no. While we have all heard horror stories of real, nightmare tenants who have squatted, refused to pay rent or maliciously damaged property, in reality, there are many more loyal and respectful long-term tenants out there, versus the so called “bad” tenants.
As a landlord however, you of course want to mitigate risk, since “bad” tenants do often disguise themselves as responsible people who are full of integrity.
At Fortune Property Management Group, we take a very disciplined approach to tenant searches and placements. We believe in due diligence and never take short-cuts. Whether you engage us to find a tenant for your property, or whether you plan to do it on your own, we are happy to share a few of our tips and processes here to help along the way:
- Pre-screening tenants: you would be surprised to learn how many landlords speed through the tenant placement process, without conducting proper background checks or credit checks. Many accept the first tenant who applies. While we understand that there is a sense of urgency in filling a vacant place, it’s critical to balance it with potential losses that could come from a “bad” tenant, amounting to thousands of dollars in missed rent, legal fees and property repair costs.
The pre-screening process need not be complicated. It just takes some time and care. In our initial pre-screening consultation, here are some questions we ask all potential tenants (feel free to ask these questions as well!):
- Are you agreeable to completing our rental application which would require your consent to a credit and criminal check? (If the answer is no, at Fortune, this would preclude them from consideration for tenancy.)
- Have you ever been served with an eviction notice or been asked to leave a rental property? (If the answer is yes, it raises a red flag. However, we generally ask for more information around the circumstances of such an eviction, as we recognize that each situation is unique that anyone can fall upon hard times and recover.)
- Why are you moving from your current place?
- When does your current lease expire and have you given notice to your landlord?
- How much are you looking to pay in rent on a monthly basis, and are you willing to sign a lease for one year or more? (We require all tenants whom we work with to sign a one-year lease at a minimum and in certain circumstances, ask for a guarantor for the lease.)
- How many people will be living with you in this unit? (This is important as we want to ensure more people aren’t moving into a space than what it is designed for, plus we want to ensure all adults living in the unit are named in the lease.)
- Can you provide references from your previous landlord(s)? (Again, at Fortune, we require all tenant applicants to provide this – it is mandatory. We also conduct online searches for public information as a secondary safe-guard.)
- Do you currently carry renter’s insurance? (This is a mandatory component for Fortune Property Management, and we require a copy of it on file.)
- Treating tenants (prospective or current) with respect: at Fortune Property Management, we are firm believers that what you GIVE determines what you GET, and in the landlord/tenant business, tenants are our customers and should be treated as such. While we want to find tenants who are going to treat our client’s place with care and respect, those tenants want landlords who value them. This means keeping the property in tip top shape, making repairs in a swift, timely manner – to enable tenants to maintain a great quality of life in their home.
- Conflict and issue resolutions in writing: even dream tenants can have issues or disagreements with their landlord from time to time. So we make it a policy to set clear expectations and manage them up front. We handle issues by actively listening to the tenant – to find solutions that work for both parties. Going back to point #2, we believe it’s all in how we treat the tenant. We document all communications in writing – even verbal conversations are summarized and shared in writing to avoid potential future misunderstandings. In this way, we build successful, long-term tenant relationships on behalf of our clients.
- Help the tenant get to know you: we believe the more we get to know a prospective tenant, the better our overall experience will be with them. Conversely, it is important for the tenants to get to know us too – to create a comfort zone, and ensure the relationship starts off on the right foot. So we often invite tenants to “interview” us so they can get to know us. This process goes a long way in helping to make our client’s real estate properties profitable.
We hope that you have found these tips to be helpful. At Fortune Property Management Group, we want to change the way the property management industry does business. Our philosophy is to be a partner with you on your real estate ventures for both traditional long-term tenancies, and short term rentals (e.g. AirBnB). So until next time thanks for spending a few minutes with us.
Your property partners,
Fortune Property Management Group
Gordon Duncan: 647-286-5773
Rinku DasGupta: 416-938-1238