Tenants

tenant red flags

8 Prospective Tenant Red Flags

There were an average of 3.8 million eviction cases filed each year in the USA in the 21st century.

Such cases are a big hassle, and it is preferable to find out if you have potential problem tenants long before they even sign a contract. But are there any tenant red flags that you should look out for, and how would you know if they are a cause for concern?

Below we have listed eleven examples of how a tenant might flag that they are not a good fit for a tenancy. By checking through each of these with your potential renters, you will be able to work out if they are a poor fit for your property. At the very least, you might be able to find a question or two to ask them to determine if there is something you need to know.

1. Low Income

Property managers should be aware of potential tenants who might not be able to pay for their rent regularly. By asking a tenant about their income, you can ensure that they will have enough to be able to cover both their non-rent needs as well as pay you.

Someone with a low enough income might struggle to choose between necessities and rent. You can assume that the rent will be late if this is the case.

2. Lack of Employment

Part of tenant screening involves checking to see if someone will have a regular income that can pay the rent. If they are without employment, unless they have something lined up, that is one of the biggest prospective tenant red flags.

If they have no employment, they are unlikely to be able to pay rent unless they have a large nest egg. If they continue to pay despite this, you might want to start questioning where they get their money from. The money might end up not coming from above-board sources.

3. Poor Credit

While someone might have enough money right now, there is always the chance that they might end up down on their luck later on. For this reason, you should make sure that the tenant has the credit necessary to keep up their rent later on.

This also helps them cover rent in the case of accidents, emergency repairs, or medical issues.

4. Eviction on Their Record

If someone has already faced eviction in the past, there are likely to go through the same process in the future. It is an example of when you might want more details of the tenant’s history, as it might no longer be relevant.

5. Criminal Record

Finding out about a tenant’s criminal history is not illegal, but asking about it could put you in serious trouble.

The Fair Criminal Record Screening for Housing Act of 2016 means it is illegal to even ask about arrests, let alone convictions. As such, while this may be a red flag it is also not information that you can get without difficulty.

You might want to run a background check instead.

6. Only Good References

If someone only has good references for jobs or previous homes, with large gaps between the engagements, you might want to ask about those gaps. It might turn out that the good references only refer to times when they had a good relationship. As such, other landlords or employers might have had a much poorer engagement with the individual.

After learning about what the person did to warrant such a reaction, you will need to learn how to say no to a prospective tenant.

7. Falsehoods in the Application

Purposely lying on the application suggests that the person has something to hide. You can either ask them about what it is they are trying to hide, or you can refuse them the application.

There is a very low probability that they are lying on the application for any good reason. Also, someone who starts any sort of professional relationship with a lie is unlikely to be a good tenant.

8. Demanding Personality

One of the more subtle red flags when finding a tenant is that someone is very demanding. It is hard to see the difference between someone who has high expectations, someone who is detail-oriented, and someone who will be a problem. This might take some experience to learn.

A good benchmark is if their demands will take more of your time. Then, if you refuse anything, how they react could tell you everything that you need to know.

How to Say No to a Prospective Tenant

We get that it can sometimes be hard to say no to a potential tenant. Here are some tips to avoid it all being an issue:

Be firm but brief. Do not go into too much detail, or any at all if you do not feel comfortable. If there is something you can point to that proves your reasoning, such as a credit report, use this.

Send the denial by email. This creates separation between yourself and the tenant. It gives them a chance to deal with the disappointment in their own time and not burden you with it.

Do not be manipulated. If they start giving you reasons why you should accept, do not be drawn in. If they push, they are being manipulative and would not make good tenants anyway.

Have someone with you. If you have to be there in person, have someone with you in the room or nearby. You can use them as support if things start getting awkward, or if you need to speak to someone after.

Avoid These Tenant Red Flags

Now that you understand these tenant red flags, you should be adept at noticing them. RentSafe has proved time and time again that these are real issues that come up that renters miss. What you want is something to alert you to them early on.

Our easy-to-use software allows you to engage in tenant screening for red flags before they set foot in your door. If you want to know more about what we can provide, please get in touch. Give us a call and find out how we can improve your tenant selection process.

tenants

6 Ways To Keep Your Best Tenants From Leaving

The average American renter stays in one property for around 27.5 months before jumping ship. If you want to keep your best tenants around for longer, you’re going to need to invest in some ways to keep them exceptionally happy with your property.

There are several things you can do to increase landlord retention rates. But how can you keep tenants so satisfied that they stick around for the long haul? Read on for some actionable tips on how to retain your renters and keep them happy.

1. Have Easy-to-Use Online Software

Renters are going to want a place to pay their rent quickly and easily put in maintenance orders. About 63% of Americans prefer texting and online interactions to phone calls. It’s important that you have an easy online tenant portal if you want convenient communications.

This means having a website that:

  • Easily lets tenants pay the rent directly from their bank accounts
  • Lets tenants set up recurring rent payments
  • Links renters to a chatbot or online customer service representative
  • Encourages renters to put in online maintenance orders
  • Automatically sends out reminder emails when rent is due
  • Automatically sends out weather alerts and maintenance information
  • Lets renters know when someone may enter their property (and alerts them via text)

Convenience is a simple and important way to keep tenants satisfied and improve renter retention rates.

2. Be Communicative and Responsive

Tenants understandably find it frustrating when landlords don’t reply to maintenance requests in a timely manner. After all, going through day-to-day life with a broken oven or dripping faucet is extremely annoying and inconvenient.

As a landlord, you need to take pains to reply to these requests promptly. As soon as you see a maintenance order, reach out to the contractor that you hire to take care of it. Get an estimate on when they can come and resolve the issue.

Communicate this timeframe to your best renters. Respect your tenant’s rights to a good living situation. Make sure that you are understanding and apologize for the inconvenience while you deal with the problem at hand.

3. Screen New Tenants

Tenant screening is important for several reasons. You don’t want people with criminal or eviction records to wreak havoc on your property. You want people who will pay their rent on time and respect the terms of the lease.

However, screening is also important for another key reason: you’re choosing neighbors for your best tenants.

No one wants to live near someone who’s extremely noisy in the middle of the night. Your favorite renters don’t want the entire property smelling like cigarette smoke or marijuana. They also don’t want to deal with rude or nasty neighbors.

Get references from previous landlords and make sure that there were no major issues or complaints from neighbors. Screen them thoroughly to make sure that they won’t cause a problem for other tenants. This will ensure that tenants don’t leave because of bad living situations.

4. Allow Pets

Since about 72% of renters have pets, you’re missing out on about 2/3 of potential tenants if you don’t allow them. Most people consider cats and dogs to be part of their families. They’re going to go elsewhere if you won’t allow their furry friends, which puts you way behind competing landlords.

Additionally, many of your best tenants are likely interested in adopting an animal somewhere down the line. If you allow them to do so, you’ll keep them content and happy while in your building.

You can obviously set restrictions on the types of pets that are allowed on your property. Limiting your rental to cats, small dogs, and tiny animals like hamsters and mice is a smart move. However, animals are generally no more destructive than children, so allowing them is unlikely to cause much damage.

5. Stay Ahead of Maintenance

A well-maintained property is going to retain tenants at a much higher rate than one with poor upkeep. This means that you should:

  • Regularly replace household appliances every 10 years
  • Replace and renovate roofing and siding regularly
  • Conduct routine property inspections to ensure that there are no health risks
  • Check often for leaks and wiring issues
  • Repaint your property’s exterior every few years
  • Repaint and refurbish units between renters
  • Document and standardize all maintenance
  • Hire experienced and reputable contractors to perform jobs
  • Set clear cleanliness policies in your lease

People want to live in a home that is well-taken care of. Maintaining your property shows that you care about tenant needs and respect them enough to meet these requirements.

6. Foster a Good Landlord-Tenant Relationship

It’s important to have a good relationship with your tenants if you want them to remain on your property. This doesn’t mean that you need to become friends. It simply means that you need to show them that you care about their wants and needs.

Responding promptly to phone calls, emails, and messages is a great way to do this. So is following up on maintenance requests in a timely way.

However, there are other ways to go above and beyond with your landlord-tenant relationship. Welcome them when they first get to your property. Host an open house so that tenants can meet you personally and connect with other renters in surrounding properties.

Invest in the Right Tenant Screening Tools Today

While helping your best tenants stick around may sound like a challenge, it’s completely possible as long as you cater to what they want to see in a property. Now that you know some steps you can take to retain these renters, it’s time to get started.

Our experts are committed to helping you find new renters that your pre-existing tenants will be happy to live near. Contact Rent Safe today to talk about the tenant screening process and how we can assist you!

Bed Bugs and Tenant Rights

My Apartment Has Bed Bugs, What Are My Rights? Tenant Q&A

Under most circumstances, living in an apartment comes with few issues. Most communities are notably safe, and many complexes are proactive when it comes to fulfilling work order requests for maintenance. In fact, many people prefer to live in an apartment as opposed to dealing with the ongoing maintenance and costs associated with owning a home.

But, problems do sometimes arise. One of the most difficult to manage is the presence of bed bugs.

Fortunately, you have tenant rights that you can exercise in the event of a bed bug infestation, so it’s essential that you know how to react to this situation. Let’s take a look at what you need to know.

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are small insects that usually feed on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded mammals. They’re flat, reddish-brown in color, and can become about 1/4″ long when the adults grow to full size.

While they’re capable of stinging humans, bed bugs are not known to carry diseases. Additionally, even though they go largely undetected by the average person, these insects give off an unpleasant smell once infestations become heavy enough.

What Are the Signs of Bed Bugs?

The first sign of a bed bug infestation is usually waking up with red bites on your arms, legs, back, or face. Bed bugs are mostly active at night when you’re sleeping. However, they can also come out of their hiding places during the day if they sense that it’s dark.

A second sign to look for is blood spots on sheets and mattresses, as well as an unpleasant odor.

What Is the Danger of a Bed Bug Infestation?

Bed bugs can reproduce at a rate of up to 500 per month.

As a result, an unchecked infestation can quickly grow into a serious problem. In addition to the bites and smell, there’s also the risk of bringing them home with you on clothing or luggage after visiting another place where they’re active. In some cases, this could lead to a larger infestation in your own home.

As you might assume, having a larger number of bed bugs present within your home puts you more at risk of physical harm. This primarily comes through the risk of having an allergic reaction to the bites.

How Do Bed Bugs Get Into an Apartment?

Bed bugs can be picked up from infested locations outside of a bedroom or other living space.

This includes buses, theaters, restaurants, and other public places that many people gather. However, they’re most frequently brought home through a person’s clothes, suitcase, or purse. Once the infestation starts, it can spread extremely quickly through an apartment complex due to the insects’ small size and ability to go long periods without food.

What to do if you find bed bugs in your apartment

What Should You Do if You Find Bed Bugs?

If you discover that your apartment has been invaded by bed bugs, there are several things that you should do.

First, immediately place your clothes in a plastic bag and vacuum the entire room. This should be done frequently to prevent the bugs from spreading through your apartment or complex.

In addition, keep all of your possessions sealed tightly inside bags as much as possible for at least three days. This can help catch any stragglers that happened to fall off of your clothes in transit.

What Rights Do I Have as a Tenant?

Landlords are required to provide the basic services necessary for daily living. This includes heat and hot water, as well as a safe and habitable apartment.

If your unit becomes infested with bed bugs due to a landlord’s negligence, you have the right to take legal action against them. In addition, if your personal belongings have been damaged during this time period, you can seek further compensation.

What Should I Do If My Landlord Won't Help Me?

If your landlord fails to take action, you can contact the city’s department of housing and code enforcement. This agency will often inspect units that are believed to have bed bug issues, as well as levy fines against negligent landlords.

If they fail to resolve the problem within a predetermined window of being notified, you may also pursue legal action against them. Of course, it’s in everybody’s best interest to work together to resolve the situation. Having either party take legal action will only result in more complications.

So, if you find that your landlord has not been as proactive as they should, do what you can to reach out to them and resolve the problem. This could go a long way toward making your life easier in the immediate future.

How Can I Prevent Bed Bugs From Entering My Home?

One of the simplest ways to prevent bed bugs from entering your apartment is by making sure that all seams and openings are sealed off. This includes any cracks, holes, and unsealed electrical outlets.

You can also install door sweeps along the bottom of each exterior door to make it more difficult for insects to enter the room. While this may not entirely eliminate the threat of bed bugs entering your unit, it’s an inexpensive and helpful step that can be taken.

Getting Rid of Bed Bugs Quickly Is Essential

However, it can be difficult for you to do so if you do not understand your rights as a tenant. Landlords are legally obligated to help resolve issues related to bed bugs as quickly as possible, so be sure to get in touch with yours as soon as you notice an issue.

Want to learn more about what we have to offer? Feel free to get in touch with us today and see how we can help.

3 Reasons to Send Lease Renewal Letters in 2022

3 Reasons to Send Lease Renewal Letters to Tenants in 2022

It’s no secret that the pandemic has caused a large number of issues in the real estate industry. This has made it increasingly important for property managers to send lease renewal letters to their tenants prior to their lease expiration.

Let’s take a look at everything you should know about this process, and why it’s so important.

1. You Can Keep a Steady Flow of Income

To make the most of your property, you’ll need to establish a steady flow of income.

Having your tenants vacate will only complicate your streams of revenue. With that said, this is where the lease renewal letter comes into play.

Lease renewal letters help prevent tenants from walking away when their lease is coming to an end. It also helps reduce the chances of you losing out on potential revenue.

Additionally, you can also highlight any changes that will impact the upcoming lease term. By sending out lease renewal letters, you will be able to simultaneously retain your tenants and inform them of any adjustments they should be aware of. For instance, you may no longer find it suitable for your tenants in a certain neighborhood to frequently have a large number of people at their house who park in the street.

sending lease renewal letters

2. Acquiring New Tenants Can Be Expensive

As we previously mentioned, vacating tenants can be bothersome and inconvenient. Acquiring new tenants isn’t always cheap either.

You should aim to avoid these situations by catering to your tenants and providing convenience where necessary. 

As you might know, it isn’t always easy to find a suitable tenant while avoiding long periods of vacancy. This is the entire reason why tenant screening, and lease renewal letters, exist. 

Let’s say you may have a property available to rent due to a new vacancy. There is no guarantee that new applicants will be able to meet your standards. For example, let’s assume that 10 people apply to rent a house that you manage. However, all 10 applicants have egregious issues with their applications.

These could include felony convictions, poor credit scores, or even previous evictions. The longer you look for tenants, the more money you will end up spending. This is due to the fact that bills related to utilities, mortgages, etc. will come straight out of the pocket of the owner.

So, ensure that you’re proactive with sending your lease renewal letters. Doing this will allow you to get a head start on the process and give yourself enough time to find a new tenant for your property.

3. Good Tenants Are Worth Holding On To

Not all tenants are created equal. Some tenants may be responsible, but they may have a difficult time paying you on time every month. Other tenants may be late with their payments and they could also cause damage to your property.

You may not experience any warning of this type of behavior until after the tenant has already signed the lease. Those who have been involved in property management for an extended period of time know how valuable good tenants are.

So, it’s in your best interest to keep them at the property as long as it does not cause complications for the tenant. For example, you can’t always expect tenants to stay if you significantly increase their required rental payments.

Either way, it’s important that you keep those who are great as this will help reduce the long-term costs that you experience filling vacancies.

When Should I Send Out Letters of Lease Renewal?

You should send out your letters of lease renewal at least 60 days before the end of the existing leases.

This will give you ample time to find new tenants if necessary. However, there are some exceptions. If you plan on raising the rent (something that should be done in accordance with inflation) or adding additional fees into your contract, then it may benefit you to send out these letters even earlier than 60 days before the end of your existing leases.

Once you’ve sent out these letters, it’s important that you carefully analyze the responses. If you don’t find someone, then you can always offer an extension to those tenants that need it.

Just make sure that you do so in adherence to your contract.

How Should I Send This Letter?

In order to make the logistics a bit easier, you should send out your letters of lease renewal via certified mail. This will ensure that all tenants who have received the letter are aware of it. Furthermore, if there is any question or confusion regarding your letter, then your tenants can always reach out to you via the contact information provided.

It’s also a good idea to email the same document to your tenants just in case they have not gotten around to opening the physical letter.

It's Essential For Property Managers to Send Out Lease Renewal Letters

Property managers can encounter a large number of complications should they delay sending lease renewal letters.

These range from having difficulty finding new tenants to interrupting a stream of passive income. As long as property managers consider the above advice, there likely won’t be any issues in the future.

Want to learn more about what we have to offer? Feel free to get in touch with us at today to see how we can help.

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