Nightmare tenants would keep you up at night. You take pride in the quality of your properties and the residents who live in them – you just wish they did, too. Bad tenants are devastating to your property’s ROI. It’s either they don’t pay rent on time, give false background information, misuse the property or any other red flag waving during the tenant screening process. It falls on you as the owner of the property to thoroughly find, vet, sort, and identify the good renters from the bad.
Whether you manage one property or hundreds, these simple strategies can help you avoid nightmares and keep your rental property business profitable:
Keep your rental ads professional
Nightmare tenants or those with a history of not paying rent strategically look for ads signaling easy prey based on language and ad design. Make sure your ads, both digital and printed appear clear and professional. Use industry terms and upscale language when describing the rental apartments. Also make use of high-quality photos and even a management logo to signal your professionalism as a property owner or manager, as well as contact information for any property management companies that help oversee your property.
Pre-screen before renting
Small landlords are the most likely to be targeted by habitually bad tenants because these landlords tend to relax on tenant screening – and bad tenants know that. You should make sure you thoroughly reference all prospective tenants, which should include the following:
- Credit checks
- Employment status/history
- Current and previous rental details
- Employment references
- Landlord references etc.
To ensure you get accurate information on the above checks, you should signup on the Kwaba Landlord Portal to start conducting thorough screening on your prospective tenants. Problem tenants are less likely to apply, reducing the risk of renting to one.
Be careful of cash payers
A tenant may offer to pay rent upfront for a large period of time e.g 2 to 3 years. Even though it opposes the law in some states, the offer still seems appealing and an ideal situation for a landlord but it never ends well. It’s often an evil plot to disguise sinister activities. These types of tenants are very difficult to evict. The problem is, every time a tenant appeals eviction, the process of eviction is lengthened because the court needs to look into the issue before being able to dismiss it. The claims usually get dismissed because they’re fictional, but by the time each appeal goes to court, months and months pass, leaving you as a landlord severely out of pocket while the tenant still remains. The system definitely isn’t perfect, but it is what it is, unfortunately.
Don’t settle for the first tenant
Don’t be often inclined to accept the first tenant that comes along. While that may seem like the financially safe solution, it can often have the opposite affect. The fact is, finding a bad tenant quickly will cost you more than finding a good tenant slowly. It’s important to take time over vetting your prospective tenants and making sure they’re right for both you and the property. I’ve written an article on the qualities to look for in an ideal tenant. You can read below;
Read here: 5 qualities of an ideal tenant
Take full deposit
You didn’t become a landlord so you could chase down deadbeats in rent court. You became a landlord for the passive income. Always take a full deposit of your rent amount either it is to be paid monthly or annually as it mostly applies in Nigeria. Stay clear of tenants that want to pay in instalments; not only does it highlight their financial difficulties, but it also adds legal complications. If your prospective or existing tenant cannot afford the rent at the time, refer them to use third party rent management platforms such as Kwaba. Using the Kwaba Rent Now, Pay Later service, the bulk rent is being paid to you while they spread their payment in convenient monthly instalments.
Lastly, always have a written agreement
Forget the “gentlemen’s agreement”. We’re no longer in the 80’s. A spit-handshake doesn’t mean anything in today’s society. It’s all about lack of trust, and consequently the use of secure written contracts. Get the terms and conditions of any tenancy in a written tenancy agreement, with the signature of both landlord and tenant. A example of what a landlord and tenant agreement should contain is what we’ve written about in a previous article.
Read here: Landlord and Tenant Agreement
In short, you want respectful, reliable, clean renters – people who will pay the rent on time, comply with your other rules, and treat your property with dignity and respect. You shouldn’t think about tenant screening all wrong and think of your goal as just to fill up you vacancy with tenants. Instead, think of your goal as securing high-ROI, low-maintenance tenants that won’t give you nightmares. It’s better to have a month or two of vacancy, while you secure a high-ROI, low-maintenance tenant than to bring in someone who will make your life miserable.
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