What 10 things do landlords want in a renter?
Updated: Nov 5, 2019
The rental market can be very competitive, depending on where you are looking to rent. For that reason, it pays for you to think about the question, "What do landlords want in a renter?" I started this list by considering what matters to me as a property owner who rents to others. Then I did some research to see what other owners, property managers, and landlords were looking for in a potential new renter. Here are the 10 things that landlords want in a prospective renter:
We want a person that pays their rent on time. We're running a business and we need to make money to cover our expenses (mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, HOA fees, lawn care costs, etc). Therefore, we need renters that understand their obligation to pay what they owe (their rent) when it is due.
If you think about my previous point, that's why we want people that have good credit. If a potential renter has a low credit score, chances are they haven't proven that they are a sound financial risk. They may not be paying their bills on time or they may have bills that they're not paying at all. Again, having rental properties is a business, so we need to protect ourselves by only bringing in tenants that we feel will meet their obligations of paying their rent on time. If your credit is lower than you'd like it to be, take a look at can I rent if I have bad credit to see what you can do to increase your chances of being considered for a rental.
Still focusing on the finances, we want tenants that make enough money to afford their rent. If you're not sure if you make enough to rent a property you're considering, check out my post on how much can you afford in monthly rent to figure it out.
We want tenants who treat the property as if it were their own. That's why many property managers spend time calling a prospective tenant's previous landlords to see if they would consider the person as being a good tenant.
We are looking for renters that won't cause problems with the neighbors. One of the ways we check to see if a person is a good risk is we run a thorough background check on the person. If the person has a criminal background (like for selling drugs or having a violent history), chances are they won't be seen as being a person that won't cause problems for others.
We want our potential renters to not have a history of being evicted from previous rentals. While it may be possible to find someone willing to rent to you if you have been evicted, it's difficult. If this is you, take a look at can I rent with an eviction on my record to see what you can do to improve your chances of finding a rental.
We love to find people that want to rent long term. From running checks, a property manager can usually determine if the person tends to move from place to place each year. If that's the case, we may not consider you as being the best possible choice for our rental property. In our case, in between renters, costs are incurred (cleaning the unit, painting, etc). I try to find renters who are looking for a longer term solution for that reason.
We want a person that comes prepared when they see a rental they want. When potential tenants tour my homes, I look at how they handle the situation when they decide they want to rent one. If a person comes in with their necessary paperwork and is ready to fill out the rental application and pay the necessary fee, that says a lot to me. It tells me that they really want to rent my place! However, if they say they need to find their pay stubs, tax returns, proof of identification, etc and need to get back to me with everything, I wonder if I'll ever hear from them again (just from past experience). If someone is truly ready to rent and has everything they need ready to go, that speaks volumes!
We want honest tenants. If your situation isn't the greatest, trust me when I tell you that with the checks that many property managers run, it will be discovered. Don't lie and tell us that you have perfect credit, only to have us find out that you stopped paying your car payments and had your vehicle repossessed. Don't tell us you've never been evicted if you have been - we'll find it when we check into your background. Don't tell us that you're working full time and making $18 an hour which is plenty to cover your rent, only to have us check with your employer who says you work 10-15 hours a week at minimum wage. Don't tell us that there will be just you in the rental - we'll be able to notice that there are multiple vehicles outside all the time and people in and out frequently that are there all the time (as verified by neighbors). If you aren't seen as being honest and up front with us, we won't seriously want to consider you for our rental.
We want tenants that understand that they need to protect themselves with renters insurance. As careful as we are, we realize that things can still happen. A fire in a neighboring unit could result in smoke damage within the home you rent. As the owner, the property insurance I carry covers my property but not the property of my tenants, I'm sorry to say. For this reason, we need our tenants to understand the importance of protecting their own property with renters insurance.
If you’re in the market for a rental, be sure to think about these 10 things. Are you the person a property owner would want to have as a tenant? If you are, great! If not, work hard at improving things that can give you a better chance of renting the place you want. Take a look at what is the best rental advice for tenants for more ideas of what you can do to be seen as the right person for a rental.
For additional advice for renters and landlords alike, visit our blog. Posts on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays will deal with issues renters and property managers face. Posts on Mondays and Wednesdays will be about things happening in Lake County Florida.
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