The Importance of Finding Good Tenants In Spite of the Bad Market

Author: Scott Goodman • Scenic West Property Management

First in a series about tenant screening 

Don’t lower your standards and ignore your better judgment for the sake of a quick rental. I’ve been there and learned my lesson.  If the tenant looks bad on paper, just wait until they are living under your roof. A good property manager should have a written set of criteria which every prospective tenant must meet in order to live in one of your units.

The rental market is soft, there’s a lot of competition out there. Landlords are seeing one vacancy after another and feel the pressure to fill vacancies quickly. Many landlords have become less diligent in screening prospective tenants. After all, an occupied apartment is better than an empty one, right? Wrong.

Unfortunately, this non-vetting can lead to larger issues with problem tenants. Let’s fast-forward six months from now. Your tenant, who wasn’t properly screened, has stopped paying rent and now you have an eviction in your hands. It’s a double whammy – another vacancy AND an eviction. You would have been better off properly screening your prospective tenants and renting to a good tenant.

Only an apartment occupied by a GOOD tenant is better than a vacant unit. To avoid problem tenants, it is important to carefully assess your candidates. This might mean that you will have to suffer along the way and have an unoccupied period, but it could save you costly expenses later on. Remember, the time you spend up front carefully screening your applicants will save you a lot of time, money, and headache when compared to renting to a deadbeat tenant that defaults on rent, trashes your rental property, or worse yet, scares away your other tenants.

As a footnote, always use fair and consistent parameters for screening your prospective tenants. More about this topic coming soon.

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