Property Management

The King's 3 tips for picking good tenants

Published 20th August 2017Updated 3rd April 2023

Landlord with headphones choosing good tenants for their property
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While no one can ever replace Elvis, you can be the King of tenant selection. When reading that tenant application, avoid getting all shook up by asking yourself three key questions:

  • Can they afford the place?
  • Will they take care of it?
  • Are they easy to deal with?

We can’t help fallin’ in love with folks who tick the boxes below

1. Can they afford the place?

“Well it’s one for the money”…

Double-check their income – It should be at least 3x the rent. Verify earnings with their employer, and consider On-target earnings vs base. While anyone can go from rags to riches, beware of those who are moving for a future job that they don’t have yet.

“Are you lonesome tonight?”

Watch for housemates that aren’t on the application – Check the number of people on the application vs the number of rooms. If 5 people rock up for the inspection of your 2br, be on guard. We always ask specific questions about exactly who will be living there.

“You’re the devil in disguise”

Do they have legit references? References are a good way to ensure tenants are trustworthy and able to pay their rent. It also matters who is giving the reference – they may say that the applicant walks like an angel, or that they talk like an angel, but if none are professional references, or if references have same surname as the applicant, it’s worth asking why.

Former landlords are great references – the first question we will ask former landlords is “would you rent to this person again?”

If the answer is anything other than an unequivocal yes, return to sender.

Finally, if the applicant objects to any kind of database check (whether it’s referees, National Tenancy Database, employer, identification, etc), there’s probably a reason they are objecting.

2. Will they take care of it?

“Hound Dog”

Find out all the details if pets are involved – Pets may well be fine, but make sure that you know upfront exactly what types of pets they have and how many there are.

“Baby let’s play house”

Make sure they take care during the inspection – if they give off a bad vibe, it may be a sign that they don’t care enough about the property to maintain it. We watch for the little things – if they don’t take off their blue suede shoes when we do, that’s a good sign they won’t respect the property.

“Burnin’ love”

Watch out for smoker red flags – if we see tenants examining smoke alarms during inspections, we’re on guard: indoor smokers often disable smoke alarms to try to escape detection. If they ask whether the window screens are removable, it’s likely that they’re planning to lean out the window to smoke. Eventually, they may decide that it’s too much trouble to lean out the window.

3. Are they easy to deal with?

“A little less conversation”

Stay away from those who make multiple demands – It’s common for tenants to make a minor request or two when moving in. But if they are making inordinately demanding ones at move-in, you may have yourself a Moody Blue – imagine what they’ll be like during the tenancy.

“Don’t be Cruel”

Watch how they treat others – If they can’t seem to keep their emotions in check or they act disrespectful to those around them, they are probably going to be difficult to deal with

“I just can’t help believin’”

Listen to your gut – If you get a bad feeling about an applicant, then reconsider baby. It’s likely that your gut is right and that person won’t make a good tenant. Remember, a bad tenant selection will be always on your mind, So keep each of these tips in mind, and you can avoid checking into the heartbreak hotel when letting out your Graceland.

Like what you just read? Well, there’s a lot more where that came from

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