Waiting for the Right Tenant

Posted by Teresa on August 4, 2010 under Landlord and Tenant FAQs, Landlord Tips | icon: commentBe the First to Comment

tenatscreeningblog.comWhen rental units sit empty and you’re starting to feel desperate, it can be tempting to lower your standards and sign a lease with the first tenant who shows you the money. Experienced landlords might remember doing just that—and living to regret it.

Rather than leasing to a tenant who doesn’t meet your qualifications, try to figure out why your units aren’t renting. Fix those issues and you might find the right tenant will come along sooner than you think!

10 Possible Reasons Your Rental Units are Vacant
1. The rent is too high. Check the market. Do your homework. In most markets, tenants have lots of choices. Reducing your rent is better than collecting zero rent.

2. The condition of the rental is not acceptable to good tenants. Does it look pristine or shabby? Are the railings solid or wobbly? Does the property need a coat of paint? New lighting fixtures? Ask yourself if you’d pay your rent to live there.

3. You are letting good tenants walk away. If you have a qualified applicant, don’t let them get away! Close the sale.

4. You’re not marketing the property enough. Expand your reach. Create appealing ads with great descriptions and get them out there. Put signs on the property (make sure they’re in good shape). Put arrow signs on the corners if it’s allowed.

5. The right tenants aren’t seeing your ads. Who is your ideal tenant? Where do they hang out? Whether it’s the laundromat down the street, a nearby coffee shop or Craigslist, put your ads where your best tenants will actually see them.

6. You’re not making it easy for potential tenants to reach you. Do you have a website, email and cell phone? Does your phone plan have texting? A lot of young people use texting over talking, and Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are more likely to email.

7. Your building or property manager has a bad reputation. If your current tenants are not happy with either, they are probably telling others. Ask them.

8. Your competition is giving tenants a better deal. Are there “free rent” signs on nearby properties? Find out what your competition is doing and match or beat them.

9. Your property management company (is it you?) is not doing its job. Take a hard look at how successful the rental management has been. Too many vacancies are not acceptable. And is you decide to replace them, make sure you put up “under new management” signs on your property!

10. The property looks unsafe. Visit your properties at night. How is the lighting? Are there people hanging around? Do shrubs and trees cover the windows? Fix these problems for your current tenants and potential tenants will feel safer, too.

If none of these factors apply, then you need to do some investigative work. Potential tenants won’t tell you why they decided not to sign your lease—they just go away. Follow up with the next interested, qualified tenant who disappears. Find out why they don’t want to live in your rental property. Poll your current tenants to find out what they like and dislike about living there. You need to know what’s wrong before you can fix it!