Posted on: February 7, 2022 Posted by: Alison Lurie Comments: 0
5 Ways to Find and Retain the Best Tenants

The quality of your rental business depends partly on the quality of your tenants. Do they make consistent, on-time payments? Are they respectful toward your property, or do they cause damage requiring expensive repairs?

Tenant screening is the best way to mitigate risk and protect your business. Free property management software can simplify the screening process, but ultimately, it’s your job to decide which tenants are the best for your properties.

To get you started, here are five ways to find and retain the best tenants.

Use Passive Screening

There are two types of screening landlords use to find high-quality tenants. The first is passive screening—the differentiation that occurs naturally when you use marketing to target the particular demographic you want. For instance, if you own properties near a university but don’t want student renters, you avoid placing advertisements on campus.

To use passive screening advantageously, consider where you post advertisements (physical and digital locations), the medium of your ads (social media posts, flyers, etc.), and the general accessibility of them (Do you need an account on a particular site to view them?).

The goal is to identify where your ideal tenant spends time and is most likely to encounter an advertisement you post.

Update Your Rental Listings

One type of passive screening you should pay special attention to are your professional rental listings. Listings are another way to attract great tenants naturally. While ads and social media are great for building a general audience, rental listings on or Zillow are essential to growing your business.

Ask applicants which site or advertisement they used to find you. Keep track of that information. Over time, you may find that certain listing sites generate more qualified applicants or a higher abundance of them. Once you know which sites are working, you can adjust your advertising priorities appropriately.

Make sure all your listings have high-quality photos, accurate information, and a description of any compelling features.

Use Active Screening

Active screening involves conducting direct searches on a tenant who has already submitted a rental application. This type of screening can be time-consuming and sometimes costly, but modern software solutions make the process a lot simpler.

Here are the primary types of active screening you should run on all your applicants.

Background Checks

Background checks typically involve criminal and eviction histories. County, state, and national records are available for your screening. A prior eviction is a definite red flag indicating that an applicant might not be a good choice. However, be sure to consult with a legal expert to verify whether certain criminal histories are grounds for denial in your state.

Credit Reports

Credit reports help you decide whether an applicant will be able to pay rent consistently. Besides the credit or resident score itself, you’ll want to review the renter’s tradeline summary (a list of all active accounts) and other information provided on the report.

If an applicant has a strong score, minimal debt or credit obligations, and reliable income, there’s a good chance you have a highly qualified tenant.

Improve Your Tenant Communication

Now that you’ve found some great tenants, how do you keep them around? Once you secure a good renter, it’s your job to convince them to renew their lease.

One way to encourage renewal is maintaining good tenant communication throughout the lease term. Make sure you’re answering questions or concerns thoughtfully, professionally, and promptly.

Investing in property management software is a great way to consolidate and manage your tenant communication in one place.

Provide a Professional Experience

Tenants who experience a smooth, professional application process are likely to stick around. It’s your responsibility to simplify the lease-signing process as much as possible, including giving tenants the option to sign online via user-friendly software.

Once a tenant has signed the lease, remove any extra hurdles like excessive waiting periods and be as helpful as you can during move-in. The more a tenant feels cared for by you, the more likely they will remember those moments when it comes time to renew their lease.

Find and Keep Great Tenants for Your Properties

A combination of passive and active screening is your best bet toward acquiring loyal, qualified renters. Background and credit checks are the most immediate ways to verify a good tenant, but keeping that tenant in the long run is equally as important. By strengthening your application and communication on top of good screening practices, both you and your tenants can thrive.