It is great to know that you don’t have to worry about your tenants. The problem is; screening tenants is a difficult art and we all know that nightmare tenants are hiding among the rest of us. Heres a few hacks I’ve learned over the past 41 years of being a landlord:
Check the back seat of the applicant’s car.
This is an easy one - make sure you meet the prospective tenant street-side and take a look as he or she gets out of their car. If the backseat of the car is clean and tidy, then rest assured that your rental property will be clean and spotless. If the backseat is a dirt disaster, then send the tenant packing because if he moves in - your rental will be a dirty disaster too!
Were there any gaps in the rental history?
Your rental applications should ask for some rental history, and tenants will be able to provide you with names and contact info of their last few landlords (hint: calling them to ask for a reference is wasted time, don’t bother). If you notice that a year of rental history is missing, then it can mean that the tenant is trying to hide a turbulent tenancy or one that ended in eviction. Ask questions.
During their tour of your rental property, did the tenant’s take off their shoes without being asked?
This one is a bit tricky because many landlords themselves leave their shoes on and can set the standard. If you think about it, wearing shoes indoors wears out carpets, tiles, wooden flooring, and brings foreign material into the rental - it is a good idea to take them off. If your tenant removed their shoes out of habit and without you having to ask them to do so, then they will keep it up when you are not around and your property will benefit! Sadly, the opposite is also true.
Are the kids well behaved during your first showing?
We can be sure that parents will be on their best behaviour while viewing your rental listing, but kids are a true picture of the family dynamics. If kids are bouncing off your ceilings while you are conducting a showing to prospective tenants, then you can be sure that they will be even more rambunctious when you are not around. Can your rental property take a beating? (Trust me on this one; I’ve got 3 boys and 2 girls at home myself…all where toddlers once.)
Hope Street Management is an industry leading Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary Property Management Company.