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Many investors have already experienced the tenant from hell. It may have been daily calls to fix a loose door handle or unexplained holes in the walls and broken glass.
These problems, no matter how big or small, can make owning a rental property a real nightmare; especially if you’re managing the property yourself. What is the best way to avoid the tenant from hell? Secure the best tenant you possibly can.
This is not as easy as it sounds and it can be tricky. Finding a good tenant will mean learning from mistakes and reading between the lines. It means being diligent and critical, but in the absence of anything more substantial, it can also mean going with your gut feeling.
Take care of your property
Be mindful of who you attract to the property in the first place. A decent property in decent condition should attract a decent tenant. You don’t need a brand new million-dollar property in a great location to attract the best tenants. You just need to provide appropriate accommodation to attract suitable tenants. A clean and tidy property with all fixtures and fittings in working order is a good start.
Take note at inspection
At the inspections make a mental note – or perhaps even jot down – who is who. Remember the names of the organised couple that had their application ready to go as soon as they walked in. Don’t forget the couple that smelt strongly of cigarettes even though their application states they’re non-smokers. Keep in mind that the parents of the children yanking on curtains and kicking doors did not make any effort to stop them.
Have your blinkers on
When going through applications and trying to pick the best tenant, read between the lines. An application that shows that someone has rented four different properties in 18 months may mean you have many references to pick from, but alarm bells should be ringing.
Check to see if all previous bonds were returned in full and if not why. Check that their current employment status is as is stated on the application by contacting their employer. Double check all identification provided until you’re sure the applicant is indeed who they say they are.
Upon contacting references, determine if the responses are really genuine. Contacting previous landlords or property managers is a good idea as they should have nothing invested in the outcome of your potential tenant and they may empathise with your position.
Go with your gut
If you have a bad feeling about an applicant, move on to the next one. This is also true for picking from a number of applicants that you don’t like. If there isn’t a desperate need to have the property rented, drop the rent slightly and have another round of inspections. It is better to have no tenant in your property than a bad tenant.