As property managers, we want to do everything we can to make our tenants happy. We want to have properties that are inviting and look great. We also want to have properties that will help keep our tenants in their homes as long as they want to be there. This is why we pick our tenants carefully. Our goal is to avoid problem tenants.
Problem tenants create issues from the very start. They make it hard for us to tend to the needs of other residents. They also make it hard for us to do all we truly can to keep the properties we manage in tiptop shape. A single tenant who is not a good fit can create a chain of events that affects all of the people living in my complex. They may not pay their rent on time, leading to cash flow problems on my end. They may have poorly behaved children who destroy the property. They can also cause other problems even to the point of bringing crime and drugs to a previous crime free area. This is why we do all we can to make sure we don’t have to face them in the first place.
One of the best ways to avoid problem tenants is by upholding certain basic standards. We manage many types of property. We want to make sure that each place we supervise, whether it is a condo, a multi-family space or just a single family home will be maintained properly both in the short-term and over a much longer period of time. To that end, we need to make sure that the tenants we are renting to understand all of the basic concepts we have put into place. We need to make sure they will keep the place clean. We also need to make sure they can pay the rent on time and will not bring bad outside influences to the premises. We have created a specific list of rules that tenants must observe at all times. These rules are given to anyone who contacts us even if they are just looking. Our goal is to set up these standards upfront before we do anything else. As a premier property management company in Spring, we have learned the hard way that rules must be set up from the very beginning in order to be enforced.
A Credit Check
Another way to help avoid problem tenants with the use of a credit check. Credit checks aren’t everything. They can contain errors. Good people can have bad credit for problems that are beyond their control. But we know we have to protect our own assets and the lives of those already living here. While we don’t expect perfect credit, we do look for a certain credit range. We will not rent to anyone who can’t meet my credit scale floor. We will also not rent to anyone who wants to put members of the family on the lease who do not meet those criteria. Even if the primary leaseholder has perfectly good credit, they may be counting on that other person’s income to help them pay the rent. We need to make sure no one is left on the lease who cannot meet the obligations necessary to pay each month’s rental fees. We ask each prospective tenant to let us run a credit check. If it comes out much lower than might be expected, we will offer them the chance to correct any wrong information that may be on there such as a bad debt that is from another person’s account.
Interviewing People Directly
While a credit history is a useful thing, nothing beats a personal interview. Many potential problem tenants will have red flags that show up during the interview. We look at how they dress for the interview. We want to see that a prospective tenant is taking this interview seriously. A tenant who wants to come across as someone we can work with will typically be dressed in clean clothing. It doesn’t have to be formal but it should be clean. Good tenants will also show up without any evidence of drug or alcohol use. A good tenant is also likely to bring documents with them to the interview such as pay stubs and recommendations from any prior property managers in Spring or other parts of the area. This shows us they have done their homework. It shows us that they understand what we want from them and will do what is necessary to get it. We look for people who are clearly going to be an asset to our own tenants. If we are on the fence, we will do more than one interview. We pay attention to those who do not show up on time.
The Human Touch
All the paperwork and interviews in the world are still not enough. In the end, we rely on my our instincts. Sometimes, we just know people are going to be right for the property even if they don’t have a credit score or the job history we really want. Being an effective property manager who can find the right tenants for any space means never letting go of the human touch. After many years in this business, we have learned to go with our gut. We have learned that paperwork may look good but if we’re not feeling happy, this is probably not going to work out. This is where experience comes into play. A good manager will develop a feel for the needs of their tenants. A good property manager will have all kinds of skills including the ability to fix things properly and make sure they are adhering to all necessary rules and regulations. But, most of all, a good property manager will have a passion for this business and the skills to read people and understand them. That’s really ultimately the best way to avoid tenants with problems and create fabulous, well-managed properties.