If you are already a landlord you know that looking after your investment and screening tenants can be extremely time-consuming and at times even disappointing. Everything could be great; the rent comes in on time, the house and yard look well-maintained and then your tenant gives notice to vacate.
You post ads, re-word the advertisement, enter it on other websites trying to attract attention and still no one calls. You might even pay money to advertise in the newspaper.
Is the rent negotiable?
Screening tenants to find the right tenant can be a challenge. You may get questions such as, “Can we negotiate the rent? We’ll look after the house really well but we can’t afford your asking price.”
Everyone seems to ask about the rent being negotiable and you don’t want to have a vacant rental property at the end of the month, so maybe the rent should be reduced. Sometimes, this is the best course of action. Time to change all those ads you worked so hard on to show the new rent. Now the questions become more interested:
- “Which area of town is the house in?”
- “Is it near the University/ Hospital/ Downtown?”
- “Are there good schools in that area?”
Now you have prospective tenants who want to see the house. Everything is going well again.
Changing tenants can be as much a challenge as finding a new one. Negotiating with your tenant on what time to show the house to an interested party is an excellent example of the kind of work that needs to be done.
Here’s a typical scenario:
- You call the existing tenant and ask if you can show the house tomorrow at 9:30am.
- “No, 9:30am won’t work for us. Could it be the next day after 5:00pm?” The tenant says.
- “Someone is really interested in the house but they are only in town tomorrow,” you might say.
- After much discussion and possibly some begging on your part, your tenant agrees that you can show the house tomorrow at 4:45 p.m. Now you’ll have to cancel that 4:30 p.m. specialist doctor appointment you’ve been waiting eight months for, BUT you did get agreement from the existing residents to let your new prospective tenant see the house.
The next day, you arrive early to find the prospective tenants are already there and coming out of the house. The tenant moving out has let them in early and told them all about you not making repairs and upgrades properly. Perhaps they talked about how difficult you are to get along with just for a bonus.
Screening tenants requests
Maybe they wanted you to install a new 8 foot fence because they didn’t like the neighbours behind. And remember when they asked you to tear out the expensive carpet to replace it with laminate flooring because their vacuum cleaner broke. And you wouldn’t buy that ride-on mower because you thought they could make do with the self-propelled one you bought earlier this year.
The new prospective tenant says, “Thanks. We have 37 more properties to look at, but we’ll get back to you soon.”
You trudge home and answer more phone calls and hope the doctor’s office calls you back tomorrow to make another appointment. Being a landlord is more demanding than you first thought.
Then you get another call. Someone else wants to see the house. The tenant lets you show the home. The new prospective tenants seem excited and interested in the property. Finally, they tell you they want to rent the house. You have them fill out an application to rent form you found online and you take the completed paper home. You call all three of the prospective tenant’s references. No one answers the phone and you leave messages for all three.
By the next day the only person who has called back is the new tenants asking when they can move in. You tell them you can’t set a date yet. You’re just waiting to talk to their references but so far it looks good. You call the old tenant and leave a message wondering when they will be moving and asking them to call you back.
Since you still haven’t heard from any of the references, you call all three again. And again, no one answers, so you leave more messages. Eventually you get some calls back. You ask some questions but the references won’t answer because that may be a breach of privacy laws and they certainly don’t want to have any problems with that.
Will you finally talk to a reasonable reference? Will your prospective tenant work out?
If this sound like your experience screening tenants contact us to for a free consultation!