finding great tenants
Finding great renters for your rental suite is important. You put an incredible amount of time, money and effort into creating your rental unit so it’s desirable to renters. You want reliable, respectful people who will pay the rent on time and take care of your place.
Here are 3 steps to finding great renters:
1. Change your mindset
You’re not just finding great renters; you’re looking for good neighbors. To us, these are people who are respectful of others and match the suitability of the rental space. Finding great renters is especially important if the rental unit shares walls/floors with you or other renters. It helps to know who you’re looking for. Obviously, you want someone with a way to pay rent in full and on time. Besides that, know who the suite is suitable for and what your personal limits are. For example, if you don’t smoke, you probably don’t want a smoker. Or if you are a shift worker, you may want a shift worker so that there is some understanding of your/their sleep schedule. Make a wish list of who you want as tenants. This will help you when you are assessing interested applicants.
2. Advertise your suite honestly
When you write your suite’s ad, list the price, what’s included and describe who you are looking for. State that you are looking for good neighbours and list a few things from your list. This can start to build trust with your future renters and can help avoid complaints in the future. For instance, our dog is a big, nervous guy who doesn’t understand running in the house is noisy for tenants downstairs (obviously). We addressed this potential noise complaint in our ad: “Must like dogs as a large, goofy, SPCA Special lives upstairs”. By adding this to our ad, we have accomplished 2 things: tenants know what to expect so are choosing to live in a basement suite with a dog upstairs, and we found people who are gentle with our timid dog.
Please be aware that you cannot discriminate based on person’s race, religion, family status, physical or mental disability, gender, sexual orientation, age or anything else that could be considered a Human Rights violation. However, you can list some things you are looking for. Hopefully, potential tenants will self-select rentals that they are interested in. Some examples we thought of or have seen are:
- Suitable for 1 quiet student
- Environmentally conscious household looking for tenants who are interested in recycling, composting and sustainable living.
- Quiet house and neighbourhood. Looking for shift worker or someone understanding of shift worker’s sleep schedule.
- Family with young children, looking for family with young children or renters who like kids.
- Shared forced air heating system; please note we love cooking with onions and spices.
Regardless of what specifics are addressed in the ad, we make it positive and don’t hide anything. This helps minimize surprises and frustration for both you and renters because you both have an idea of what to expect.
3. Check references
Your application needs spaces for references. Preferably, a recent landlord and current employer. Although there are standard questions we ask, what we really want to know is if the story the prospective tenant told us jives with what the references are saying. In addition to the supplied references, you are within your right to check Facebook and other social media. Again, we don’t just use it to assess a prospective renter, we want to see if their profile aligns with what they have told us. If someone tells us they don’t party much and all they have on their Facebook page is pictures of them partying, we get suspicious. It’s not about whether they party, it’s that they lied about it.
Finding great renters becomes easier when you start thinking in terms of good neighbours, define who you’re looking for, share expectations and check references. Finding the right renter(s) takes effort and it is well worth it to minimize complaints and get tenants that are a good fit for your unit.
What are your tips for finding great renters? Let us know in the comments below.