How to Find a Good Tenant

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If you have property and want to rent it to a dependable tenant without hiring a real estate agent, here is a safe way to get one.

  • Put ads for your apartment in the newspaper and on the Internet (Craigslist is an excellent choice). Make sure you put nice pictures of your apartment on the Internet to attract more tenants. Use sign boards if they're allowed by the condominium association or building. Make sure you put your contact numbers whereever you list your apartment.

  • Be ready to show your apartment to your prospective tenants. Do not get frustrated if your efforts yield no results. Be patient and carry on.

  • Forward a standard rental application to whoever comes for showing. Since many people will not tell you up front whether they liked your place, it is advisable to give your rental application to all those who see your apartment.

  • Standard rental application can be downloaded from the Internet. Type "rental application" in Google to find them. Many are free for download.

  • Make sure your rental application requires the prospective renter to list the previous landlord's phone, the reason for leaving previous place, any bankruptcies or foreclosures. Find out the tenant's employment status and get contact information for the employer. All these things will help you screen your prospective tentants. Make sure that your rental application has a "Authorization for Release of Information" signed by the applicant. You should have written permission to contact previous landlords and employers.

  • Call each reference and any previous landlords listed on the rental application. Its better to have your appartment vaccant rather than have a tenant who don't pay rent on time.

  • If you want to go a step further pull your prospective tenants credit report (you can charge a non-refundable rental application fee). Ask the tenant to supply his four most recent pay stubs and W-2 forms or 1099 for the past three years.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't accept a tenant who won't supply references or refuses to share reasonable financial information. Anyone can pose as a tenant's employer, so insist on pay stubs and W-2's or 1099's.

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