You may think that good tenants are hard to come by, but really it often comes down to your screening process and how you handle the tenants once you've accepted them. You should have a clear-cut process for choosing tenants before you even list the rental. This will allow you to keep yourself safer against applicants that may claim you did not judge them by the same standards as the others. Remember: while vacancies cost money, so do destructive tenants. You'll want to make sure to get the best tenants possible.
Run thorough screenings on every interested party. Some landlords prefer to collect the fees and run the reports themselves, others prefer to have the applicant run the report and deliver it to them, but either way, make sure that you receive all the information that you need. A credit and criminal search is key. The credit report will allow you to have at least a pretty good idea on their payment history. Do they have good habits that allow them to pay on time or do they have several accounts that have gone to collections? Are they late on payments? How does their credit score match up to your standards? You'll want to check and make sure that they do not have a criminal history. Not all landlords have a strict no-priors policy, but if you allow for a criminal history then you'll want to keep a steady policy on what is allowable and what is not. You can't predict every scenario, but it's good to be as steady across the board as possible. Evictions are also a good way to check to make sure other landlords haven't had trouble with them before they applied for your rental.
Once you've found that fantastic tenant you'll want to keep them. Communication is key. When they sit down to sign the lease with you make sure that everyone is on the same page. Be quick to answer their requests and handle issues in a timely manner.
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