Running a rental business isn’t easy, not least because good tenants who are regular with their rent and who stay on for extended periods can be hard to come by. Certainly, the kind of location you have, and the quality of the amenities you offer make a difference to the prospects of your business. There is, nevertheless, a lot that you can do to ensure that you get your pick of the prospects available to you — the most dependable tenants and the best rental prices for your location.
The best way to achieve uninterrupted rental income is to find stable tenants who stay for years. Screening your applicants, then, needs to be about more than criminal history checks and credit-rating checks. It should also be about their ability or willingness to settle down. If an applicant’s credit file appears to suggest that they keep moving, they probably aren’t good tenant material.
Make sure your contract pushes for stability
One of the simplest ways of making sure that you get long-term tenants is to simply require long-term leases. While allowing short-term leases may make it easy to fill a vacancy, you’ll have a high turnover rate too. You can encourage long-term stays by putting penalties in place for when tenants wish to break their lease midway. You can always waive the penalty if a tenant has a genuine reason to want to leave.
Price yourself a little lower
Lower prices are always an easy way to attract tenants. You need to go slightly lower than the competition, though. While a small difference in rent receipts will not make a difference to you, it will give your rental an attractive sheen of affordability that tenants will find hard to ignore.
Look for signs of trouble far ahead
If applicants show up smelling of weed, if they haggle over deposits or rent even before they see the apartment, or they ask odd questions about what rooms there are no smoke alarms in, it’s clearly a sign that they aren’t likely to be good tenants. You should pass.
Some rental buildings do very well for quality tenants. If you know of such buildings in your area, you can slip a few flyers in the mailboxes. When tenants there need to move, or if they have friends who need a home, they could think of your building. It can also help to tell all existing tenants that they get a cash bonus if they find you a new tenant before they move out.
According to CountrywideScotland.co.uk many landlords simply have trouble finding suitable applicants because they don’t aim themselves at niche markets. Clients who have little time to go through the whole process of visits and interviews are an example. Putting detailed pictures and videos online, and also adding a tenancy application form online can help attract these busy people.
While most rental properties might have a page with a few photos on a few major classifieds websites, you could go a step further putting your rental property on its own website, with plenty of high-quality pictures, a tenancy application and a full statement of all rules and requirements.
Take on more trouble
Many landlords establish rules that leave certain types of tenant out in the cold. Smokers, families with children or pets, and others who find it hard to find rental properties will usually come in quickly, and hope to stay for long. All you need to do is to welcome them in.
You can always outsource to experts
Real-estate agencies dedicated to rental property management can be an excellent option for property owners hoping to find tenants, even if somewhat expensive. Signing up to these services can be a huge burden off. Rental agencies take care of the advertising process, interviewing and verification process, the rent collection process and so on. While bringing an expert in does cost something, it’s important to remember that experts are better equipped when it comes to finding quality clients, simply because they have better experience.
Tapping an agency for expertise is a good idea also because it can be risky trying to judge applicants on your own, especially if you have little experience. Many troublesome tenants try to scam landlords by coming in with poor credit, but applying them with sob stories. If you don’t have experience, you might actually fall for such tricks.
Don’t forget to call Sky customer services to inform them if you are moving home to streamline the process of transferring over utilities.
Kate Nash is a private landlord who has managed to grow her portfolio over the years and learned some tips and strategies along the way. She likes to share her ideas with an online audience and is a regular writer for a number of relevant websites.
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