By Mike Moore from sunny Australia
Have you ever interviewed an attractive prospective tenant, they were so attractive that you just wanted to hold them and kiss them and…STOP! get your mind out of the gutter 🙂
This is about Keeping It Simple Stupid.
Find tenants who have a simple profile: those with little drama happening, those whose life situation makes sense, those who can pay in a simple manner.
I learned this lesson the hard way.
Early in my landlording career, I had a vacancy during a time when the rental market was difficult. Units stayed empty for months, the prospective tenant pool was less than ideal and as
a landlord, you had to compromise the quality of tenant against having another vacant month.
A prospect arrived to view the property with a friend, in fact it was the friend who called about the vacancy. Alert! Why didn’t the prospect call herself? The woman it seemed was leaving her
partner, an apparently abusive situation. I offered her the tenancy and she said she would come back the next day to sign the rental agreement and pay the deposit. She never showed, and
when I called, she was back together with her husband.
Just this last summer, Prince George was home to many refugees from the Williams Lake wildfire evacuation. My wife liked this one woman. She was a single mom but we needed to sign
some papers for welfare so she could get the deposit paid. She was supposed to show the next day but she didn’t show, she was moving to Ft.St. James instead. Fortunately, I kept the names
and numbers of other prospects and was able to get a group of students to move in.
Not too long ago, a woman came to view a vacant unit. She had a 1 year old and a boy friend working in Burns Lake who stayed weekends. She was going to share the 3 bedroom townhouse with a friend who had a 3 year old as she could not afford the rent on her own. This was getting complicated. I could foresee trouble here: the friend would leave when she found a new boyfriend, the two would have a disagreement, or someone would be short of cash one month. I turned her down. Did I mention they both had cats?
I had one desperate individual call me another time. He had accepted a job with the local radio station and had rented a place online without viewing the place and without checking with
colleagues. He arrived and discovered the house was in the ‘hood – a notorious part of Prince George. He didn’t even unpack the trailer. He went to my property after I asked him not to
interfere with the outgoing tenants. I didn’t offer the tenancy to him either. While I think my rentals are good quality, they would not appeal to professionals looking for upscale housing. I could foresee that they would move in but be looking to move on within a couple of months. I want tenants to stay one year minimum.
The problem with tenants who have complicated personal situations is that they are prone to sudden changes in living arrangements. Roommates can have falling outs. Women leaving
abusive husbands can move back in with the ex, or worse, the ex moves into your property. People who rely on Social Assistance or Disability Pensions are frequently short of cash and paying rent is not their top priority.
What To Look For
Look for individuals who have stable and uncomplicated lifestyles. Some easy to understand situations are:
● Students – especially third and fourth year students and grad students. They are committed to studying and completing their programs, they are past their wild first and second years where partying is the norm. Because they share expenses, they can afford the rent. The downside is that they don’t last long, sometimes as short as eight months, but sometimes they will pass the tenancy off to other grad students and even though the
individuals changes, the place does not experience any vacancies for two or three years.
● Seniors – very stable tenants, living the quiet life. If they can afford the expenses they never leave.
● Married – including the newly weds and the nearly weds – especially partnerships that have been together for several years – have uncomplicated lives, just living life.
● Young adults working in their chosen career, they don’t have enough saved yet to buy their own place and may be transient as the job may require them to move.
As always, do your due diligence; check work and past rental references, google search their names, and check out their Facebook page.