Due diligence on prospective tenants is a good investment of your time. Go beyond the credit report and the usual references. Make sure that your property manager performs a thorough background check on all prospective tenants. More important than talking to the applicant’s current landlord (who may say anything to free him/herself from a troubling tenant) is talking to the prior landlord, as they would be more open to letting you know of any problems that occurred.
In order to interest better-quality candidates, you should offer better-quality living standards by considering:
- investing in quality material – renters are more inclined to pay slightly higher rental fees if they can see it is a high standard of property that is well maintained. They also tend to stay longer;
- accepting tenants with pets (but charge more) – tenants are less likely to move once they and their pets are settled, especially as it is more difficult to find places that permit pets. Requiring a pet deposit (in addition to the standard deposit applied to all tenants) allows you to relax somewhat about potential pet damage. Should you decide to permit pets, make sure your pet deposit requirement is included in your standard lease language whether or not the tenant has a pet as of the move-in date (in case he/she acquires a pet after moving in);
- offering 12-month leases rather than month-to-month agreements, which, if the property is well-kept and –managed, minimizes the tenant turnaround time;
- installing an alarm system, as tenants with valued property are usually willing to pay more in order to feel well-protected.
- being responsive – your landlord or property manager should respond to all calls/emails within 24 hours and take care of all maintenance repairs within 2 days whenever possible. Consider establishing a website for your property and have all tenant emails cc’d automatically to you so that you can track requests made and follow-up responses/actions from afar.