Landlords sometimes make the assumption that the ideal tenant is the one who sticks around for a long, long time.
For instance, a landlord may assume that the long-term tenant guarantees monthly rental income, making the rental a good investment. It can seem like less work to keep the same tenant and avoid the hassle of finding new ones, and that the tenants who like where they live will take better care of the property.
Unfortunately, these assumptions don’t always ring true. The long-term tenant can, over time, become the tenant from hell. Take the case of the “ideal” tenant who remained for years, but turned out to be a hoarder, the one who sublet the property for a higher rent and made a monthly profit, or the one who now has so many pets they couldn’t live anywhere else.
There is no such thing as “auto-pilot” when it comes to managing rental properties. Extending the lease or allowing an existing tenant to remain long-term does not guarantee that the tenant will always pay rent or keep the property clean.
When considering offering a long-term lease — more than one year — to a new tenant, pay special attention to the applicant’s rental history. Have they stayed in one place for a long time in the past? What incentives does this person have to stay in the property — for instance, do their kids go to school nearby?
When renewing leases for tenants who want to stay, don’t let down your guard just because the first year went well. Inspect the property before you agree to a renewal. Ask for an updated rental application and, if your local laws allow, consider running tenant screening reports to see if the tenant has lost their good credit rating or is otherwise unqualified. Consider the possibility that the tenant wants to renew because they no longer qualify for a new lease somewhere else.
When the same tenant remains in the rental for a long time, it is easy to lose track of needed maintenance on the rental property. Don’t forget to make a plan for routine upkeep.
This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.