Having a vacancy in your rental property can be unnerving for some landlords. Do you blame them? For without a paying tenant the mortgage might not be paid on time as other utility bills pile up. In this technological and internet social age, tenants that pay rent on time are becoming harder to find.
Before we get to some of the steps you can take to secure tenants for your property, the following responsibilities need to be carried out. Fix any issues that currently exist inside of the property before showing it to a prospective tenant.
The worst thing you can do is camouflage issues and hope the tenant pay your rent on time. It is quite hard to attract a decent well-paying tenant into a poorly managed building. There are two ways you can repair broken things inside your property; patch up the problem or thoroughly fix it.
To succeed as a landlord you have to adopt the attitude of fixing problems the right way the first time. If there are rodents and roaches inside the empty unit do not just spray roach killers and lay rodent traps thinking you solved the problem.
The holes for the rodents need to be permanently closed and the food and breeding area for the roaches need to be eliminated. While the rental charge might attract a paying renter, it is your management style that keeps your property full with a waiting list of prospective tenants.
I am yet to find a successful slumlord, for eventually, they run the property into the ground. So, before you start looking for prospective tenants, ask yourself if the unit is ready for rent? Did you take care of all known issues or are you hoping the new tenant will point them out?
Finding Tenants for Rental Property
Unless you’re a dedicated landlord with multiple buildings under your control rarely would prospective tenants come calling? With the Internet age in full swing, there are many inexpensive ways to advertise for tenants.
Most can be used for free while some would require a small listing fee. Keep in mind that the steps you’re using to find good tenants are the same tactics used by real estate management firms.
Advertise on Highly Trafficked Websites
There are dozens of websites that would allow you to advertise for free when seeking tenants for your empty apartment. As long as you’re a private landlord most would not charge you a fee.
The good thing with internet listing sites is that you can reach a potential tenant from another state that just secured a well-paying job in your local area. While there are listing sites dedicated to your city consider the advantages offered by using a widely visited sited that is popular nationwide.
I have rented dozens of apartments over the years and I can assure you Craigslist.com is still the most effective site to use. It is visited by millions of people on a monthly basis and the listings are well organized and searchable.
Other popular listing sites for your rental unit include hotpads.com, apartments.oodle.com, trulia.com, etc. Some have limitations as to what you can list for free, so you might consider paying a listing fee to get the most eyeballs on your rental unit.
Using Social Media Sites
This is not my favorite place to get good tenants, but it can expose your rental property to hundreds of potential renters if used the right way. The only downside is that social media sites are filled with grown-ups acting like kids.
The vast majority of the users are broke and you never know the true location of the person you’re communicating with on Facebook for example. On the other hand, it might be possible to find rental prospects if you choose to advertise using Facebook Ads because they’re more targeted to the audience you want to reach.
Ask Other Tenants
If you have a well-run property that people are happy to call home, some of your present tenants might not mind prospecting for new tenants for you. Please do not relax your screening procedure just because a well-paying tenant sent the person.
I once lived in a complex where you got $200 to $300 dollars if you referred a potential tenant to the landlord. The fee is paid once the lease is signed. It was a forty unit building with all the right amenities and it was always full.
The landlord was mean, tough, and fair to all the tenants, which is what you have to be if you want to be successful managing properties. He was nice in that he fixed all problems right away and he did the repair job with top notch personnel, no patch up job here.
Some might call him mean because he rigorously enforced the rules stated on the leased signed by each tenant. Late fees start accumulating after the 3rd of the month and you usually got a court notice before the month is over if you did not pay your rent.
That is the attitude to have when dealing with tenants. You do not want to be that nice guy, simply because people tend to pay nice guys last and mean ones first.
Get Tenants through Real Estate Firms
In some states, the tenant will pay a fee to the real estate company for locating an apartment, while in others the landlord would be charged the fee. The fee is usually one month’s rent but can be as high as 12% of the annual rent. Listing your property with agents might save you the headache of screening potential renters.
Another advantage will be the listing of your property in the local multiple listing services used by the real estate firm, which means more eyeballs on your rental unit.
How to Keep Your Good Tenants
Now that you rented out your empty apartment there are ways you can ensure it stays that way. When you meet with the protective tenant insist everyone that will be occupying the apartment be present.
Have key coded locks on the front door and insist any change must be for a lock of the same caliber and security setup. Give out a limited number of keys to the front entrance door, which might be negated if you have an intercom system. The following tips should be used to keep your property filled with on time paying tenants.
1 – Insist on rental payment by check, money order, or instant bank transfer. In this day in age, instant bank transfer is probably an ideal way to monitor on-time payment. Try not to accept cash payment for rent as that comes with some risks.
You never know what people are capable of doing or whom they associate with on a regular basis, so exercise caution regardless of how innocent-looking the tenant might be. Accepting cash payments when you also reside on the property might not be the safest choice.
2 – If you reside on the property, create a reasonable time schedule for all repair request. Unless it is an emergency, you do not want a tenant calling your late at night because they saw a roach
3 – Video record the empty apartment with a stamped date with the prospective tenant present when it is recorded. It will save you from unfounded accusations by slick tenants looking for free rent. A good movie to watch is “Pacific Heights” for it will give you an idea what a bad tenant can put you through if you’re not careful.
Recording the way the empty apartment look will be to your advantage and your new tenant will be more careful not to damage anything. The video recording before the lease signing would seem unusual but it would set you apart from other landlords and you should have fewer problems in your rental property because a video does not lie.
4 – Do any repairs on time and in a professional manner. Your attitude should be to fix a problem once, so employ people that know what they’re doing. Tenants pay attention to little things and that usually influences if they will stay when lease renewal time arrives.
5 – Send lease renewal out at least two to three months before the due date, this is especially true if you intend to raise the rent. Please do not get into a justification argument why the rent is going up. It is your property and you’re entitled to the amount of rent you want to charge. It is better to have a small increase in rent every year than to wait two years for a larger increase.
6 – If you reside in a municipality where there are no rules against letting the tenant be responsible for all utility charges you should do it before renting the unit out. People use less water when they know they’re responsible for the charges.
7 – Keep a clean building at all times. A clean building is an attractive rental property for potential tenants. Make sure the grass is cut on time and the shrubs are well trimmed.
8 – I like the idea of video cameras outside and in public areas of your building including hallways and stairs. People tend to behave differently when they know there is a video recording camera around. It will also come in handy in case of a slip and fall or criminal activity.
Conclusion: Best Way to Find Tenants for Rental Property
Being a landlord is not for everyone. Getting and managing tenants is a business that should not be assumed lightly, for it can ruin or make your financial future. We listed some of the ways you can advertise for potential renters free of charge.
Screen your tenants thoroughly and insist on meeting everyone that will be occupying the unit become agreeing to rent it out. It is better to get your rental payment in the form of a bank transfer and not cash. Do repairs the right way and do it on time.
You can become very rich if you own several rental properties that are well managed. The landlord business is not suitable for everyone, but it can be learned if you have the right discipline of knowing what to do and not do with people that pay you monthly rent.