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7 Simple Ways to Avoid Bad Tenants

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As a landlord, you can agree that having a bad tenant adds a boatload of new responsibilities to your job. A bad tenant is not only a threat to the safety and well-being of your property but is also just a plain inconvenience.

That’s why property management experts will always tell you to, “make sure you have an air-tight tenant screening process.” It really goes a long way when searching for understanding and qualified tenants.

While screening the rental applicant is important to your rental business’ long-term success, pre-screening potential tenants can also help you in the process.

Accordingly, if your rental property in Lancaster, CA is vacant and ready for occupation, make sure to take all the necessary steps to find a good tenant.

So, what steps should you be taking to avoid “tenants from hell”? Well, this post highlights a few great tips that you can use to find the best renters in Lancaster, CA.

1. Use Your Rental Listing to Pre-Screen Tenants

Ads are often the first line of communication between you and your prospective tenants. If you are looking for an impressive tenant, the best place to start would be with an impressive rental ad.

Just by setting the rent price, you will weed out applicants who cannot afford the rental property. Aside from that, you should include a catchy title, a detailed description, and high-quality photos that highlight the best parts of your property.

Now, while this strategy will get you a lot of interest, you only want the best tenants to contact you.

So, don’t forget to mention a few details about your screening process; e.g. you can state that you’ll conduct background checks, require credible referees, proof of work, tenant history, and so on.

This way, the tenant will know what you expect from them even before they call you about the vacancy.

2. Pre-Screen Potential Tenants Before Meeting Face-to-Face

This way, the tenant will know what you expect from them even before they call you about the vacancy.

In person interviews and property viewing require you to put time aside. That’s why you should only reserve that privilege to the tenants that meet most – if not all – of your requirements.

So, how can you tell whether a tenant is worth your time and effort? Well, by asking them a few questions when they first reach out. Once a viewer is interested in your property, they will reach out to you via e-mail, text, or phone call. This presents you with the opportunity to ask them some pre-screening questions.

  • Where do you live presently?
  • How many occupants will be living in the property?
  • What is your monthly income?
  • Do you agree with a background check?
  • Will you fill out a rental application?
  • Can you provide me with employer and landlord references?
  • Do you or any other occupants smoke?

If you like their responses, invite them over for an interview and property viewing. However, make sure you phrase your questions in a way that will require more than just a yes/no response. That way you’ll get the most out your pre-screens.

3. Make Sure Your Property is in Good Condition

It’s true that clean and well-maintained properties appeal to both good and terrible tenants. However, an unkempt property will definitely scare good tenants away.

Therefore, to avoid losing ideal tenants, make sure that your property is in good condition; especially during the tour.

4. Ask for the Right Information in the Rental Application

One of the main reasons why landlords have bad experiences with renters is that their screening processes aren’t effective. As a landlord, you need to know which questions to ask and how to phrase them.

The more information you collect about a prospect the easier it is for you to determine whether they would make a good tenant. The most important bits of information you should extract from potential renters are:

  • Employment status, with proof e.g., pay stubs.
  • Criminal background.
  • Credit rating.
  • Rental history.
  • Lifestyle, e.g. do they smoke or have pets?
  • Referees – basically, who’s willing to vouch for the tenant?
  • The contact information of the tenants’ current and former landlords.

5. Verify the Prospective Tenants’ Background Info

Tenants lying about who they are and what they do isn’t something new. In fact, a large percentage of the tenancy applications you’ll receive will probably be exaggerated, if not fabricated.

The process of verifying a person’s information is never easy, and most tenants know that. That’s why a bad tenant won’t hesitate to lie about their personal information. They know the majority may not bother to check.

That’s why it’s vital to make sure that everything about the tenant checks out. Make sure you call their previous landlords; they’ll provide you with a lot of valuable information about your prospect.

6. If Possible, Visit Their Current Residence

A peek into your prospective tenant’s current home will definitely give you a clearer picture of what you should expect. Generally, how they treat their current home is exactly how they’ll treat yours.

Basically, this visit offers you a glimpse into what will happen if you lease your rental to this prospect. Steer clear of messy, dirty, and disorganized tenants. Take note of the property’s physical treatment.

Are the walls clean or full of nails? Is their kitchen or bathroom decent or stained and greasy? How’s the landscaping?

You should, however, consider the fact that a tenant can stage their house just to impress you if given advance notice. So, make sure to look at the small details.

7. Have a Detailed Lease or Rental Agreement

Lease agreements are extremely important to your rental relationship. They clarify each parties’ responsibilities and duties. On top of listing the duration of the lease, rent and fee costs, and the names of the tenants, the lease also states the Lancaster tenant-landlord laws. This is important as it protects you and your interests as the property owner.

By clarifying all necessary requirements in the Lancaster lease or rental agreement you can reduce the chances of any conflicts. Leave no room for misunderstanding or confusion, lay out all the important details.

In summary, finding a good tenant is imperative to your rental business. It not only makes your life – as a landlord – easier but it also guarantees your property is in good hands. Luckily, with the tips above, you now know what you should and shouldn’t do when searching and providing for tenants in Lancaster, CA.