Indicators An Applicant May Not Be The Ideal Fit
The job of a landlord is rarely easy, even if it is rewarding. Throw in a less-than-ideal tenant who has caused nothing but trouble, and your job suddenly seems to get a whole lot harder.
Of course, it’s tough knocking back tenants, especially when you’re eager to get someone into the property, but it’s still worth cross-referencing every tenant application you receive to make sure they’re the right fit. Renting is a too-way street, and relies heavily on a good landlord-tenant relationship, so if someone on the other end isn’t right for you, you’re better off holding out for ‘the one’.
We’ve compiled a short list of criteria below which may help indicate if a tenant may not be the ideal fit.
Your tenant comes with baggage
Pets, kids, or horrible ex-partners, if your tenant comes with unwanted baggage, they’re probably not ideal for you or your property. While tenants’ personal life, children or ickle little doggy may not bother some property owners, it’s definitely a thinking point for most landlords.
For example, if the tenant owns a Labrador and you’re renting out a small apartment with little to no backyard, the dog and tenant are likely to be miserable cooped up indoors. Or, if your property is in an area swarming with wonderful native wildlife, and the tenant likes to let their cat out to roam during the day, this may be problematic with local wildlife authorities.
Similarly, a tenant with kids may see them disturbing the quiet, studious atmosphere of a chic inner-city building block or run a risk of ruining your pristine décor.
There’s more tenants than bedrooms
This should send off a few alarm bells straight away, and is something you should keep in mind especially in student districts. Of course, if it’s a young family of four wanting to rent out a two-bedroom place, that’s understandable, and we definitely don’t recommend turning back tenants on those grounds. But often younger people try to minimise their rent by trying to cram far too many tenants into a small apartment.
This is a tactic that never ends well, for you the landlord or anyone else. Arguments ensue, financial arrangements fall through and you may well find yourself losing out on rent payments. Trust us, it’s messy work. So when checking tenant applications, just make sure you’re not likely to have an overloaded property.
…or far less
Again, this is particularly true in student districts, where predatory people may be looking to illegally sublet the property and stuff it with poor, uninformed young tenants.
As with above, common sense will prevail to tell you if your tenant just likes their space, or happens to want a spare room. However, it’s worth being aware that cases do occur where one person rents out a five or six bedroom apartment, only to illegally sublet off-the-books to desperate youths who need accommodation.
In these cases, the original tenant will often charge their victims far more than required to meet rent, thereby making themselves a profit, and cram the property with more people than it is designed to hold. These occurrences are rare, granted, but they do happen, so it’s worth keeping in mind.
Follow the money trail
Follow your nose to see where your rent payments will be coming from. No need to go overboard investigating the precise source and amount of your tenant’s income, but you do need to be fairly well-informed in regards to how your tenant is planning on making rent. Obviously, the basics worth covering is your tenant’s primary source of income, a rough estimate of what they can reasonably be expected to earn and what they have to fall back on in case their primary income falls through.
For example, if you’re looking on renting out a beachside four-bedroom place in a highly desirable location, and your tenant works twelve hours per week at a local burger restaurant, it’s understandable that you may have concerns over the reliability of receiving rent.
Make sure you don’t get carried away in looking into your prospective tenant’s financial situation, they’re still entitled to their privacy, but having an idea of their likelihood in meeting payments is a good indication as to whether or not they’ll be a good fit.
Are they settlers or reachers?
This point will apply more to some property owners and less to others, but basically, you’ll want to consider your expectations of how long you want the tenant to stay, and how that matches up with theirs. Needless to say, if you’re looking for a long-term tenant to nestle in and really make your property their home (settlers), you’ll want to steer clear of young people who are just needing a place to crash for the next six months.
Similarly, if you’re just looking for someone to send in paychecks every fortnight, a ‘reacher’ tenant, ie, someone who is still moving onwards and upwards, may just be the right fit for you. Essentially, it’s simply a matter of comparing your expectations to those of the potential tenant, and seeing if they both fit.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of each and everything you need to check out prospective tenants, but hopefully we’ve given you a few indicators to see if the tenant will be right for you. As we’ve said previously, a good landlord-tenant relationship is imperative to renting out your investment property, so it’s worthwhile getting off on the best foot possible by selecting someone who will fill your needs, and whose needs will be met by you.
As with most things in life, if in doubt, trust your gut instinct when it comes to approving applicants, and if you really fall into trouble, our consultants at Rental Guardians will be able to help with any concerns.
Best of luck and happy tenant-hunting!