How to find the right tenants as a landlord

Property management

Everyone wants tenants who pay on time and look after your property.

The reality is that finding these dream tenants can be a challenge. The trick is to use targeted marketing, ask the right questions upfront and screen prospective tenants thoroughly. A bad tenant is not only going to cost you time – your finances and ROI of your property are also likely to be impacted.

So what qualities should you be looking for in your tenants?

Let’s start out by looking at your legal responsibilities as a landlord.

Your responsibilities as a landlord

As a landlord you have certain legal responsibilities, primarily to guarantee the safety of your tenants and the property you’re renting. If you use a property manager to oversee your rental then they also need to adhere to these obligations.

These include:

  • Giving tenants a copy of their tenancy rights when they move in
  • Keeping the property maintained and in good repair
  • Respond promptly and remedy any serious issues
  • Make sure the property is clean when new tenants move in
  • Ensuring all utilities – gas, electricity and water – are installed, connected and working
  • Ensure any appliances you own in the property are working and safe to use
  • Give the appropriate notice when visiting the property and ending the tenancy agreement

Each Australian state also has its own specific requirements, so you also need to familiarise yourself with these beforehand.

What makes a perfect tenant?

So what qualities are you looking for in the elusive search for the perfect tenants? Ideally they should be able to demonstrate they are:

  • Financially stable, with a regular income
  • Have a sound character, dependable and conscientious
  • Have a positive credit record with credit rating agencies
  • Have positive references, with no record of bad behaviour, damaging property or not making payments on time.

Finding and screening tenants

Ask the right questions, do your due diligence on screening tenants and you are far more likely to find the perfect tenants. Tick these 3 boxes to make sure you make the right choice.

Advertise on the right channels

Finding the right people is also about reaching the right audience. To do that you need to market the property so you have large pool of applicants to choose from. A property manager can facilitate all this for you, or if you are a DIY landlord look to advertise on sites like domain.com.au and realestate.com.au.

Run extensive background checks on tenants

A thorough tenant background check is essential if you want to avoid choosing a lemon. A search of the National Tenancy Database (NTD) should be a first step. This will reveal if your prospective tenants have a poor history of payments, disputes or have not taken care of a property.

You also need to confirm their identity (100 points) and proof of income. The latter should be the last three months of payslips or recent bank statements. You should also chase up references.

Chase up references

You also need to be diligent about chasing up references, including contacting the prospective tenant’s previous landlords, current employer and property manager. Employers can help verify income and character.

What is a tenancy database?

Tenancy databases are privately held records of an individual’s rental history. You have to pay a fee to access these or become a member. If someone appears on them they are likely to have been reported by their landlord or property manager.

Tenants would have broken the terms of their tenancy agreement or conditions of their lease will find themselves listed, typically for not paying rent, damaging property or getting evicted. You are required to notify a tenant, typically in writing, if you (as a landlord) are going to list them on a database. You can also only list someone who is listed as a tenant on the lease.

What does a property manager do?

If you hire a good property manager you can expect them to take care of a whole range of critical tasks, including helping you find the right tenant. They will have access to all the right tools to:

  • Advertise your property on the appropriate channels
  • Ensure all tenants are screened and checked
  • Being the primary point of contact with your tenants
  • Collecting bond and rent payments
  • Managing inspections
  • Dealing with routine maintenance requests
  • The pros of using a property manager

And if you are thinking twice about the ongoing cost of a property manager, be honest with yourself and ask if you have the time and knowledge to do the job.

Besides the legal know-how required there also the day-to-day practicalities to consider.
Property managers are the crucial link between you, the landlord, and your tenants. If your tenants are happy you are likelier to have longer term tenancies and lower vacancy rates, which all help ensure a positive ROI.

Hiring the right property manager

Property managers are not just glorified rent collectors, they need a diverse skillset to make sure they are on top of all the properties, tenants and clients in their portfolio.

What qualities should they have? A professional property manager needs to be ethical, on top of all relevant local laws, be supremely organised with keen attention to detail, and be a good communicator with excellent people skills.

When interviewing your property manager or real estate agency look to ask them:

  • How often do you conduct routine inspections on my property?
  • How will you market my property?
  • How do you screen prospective tenants?
  • Do you have a process for handling requests for repairs from tenants?
  • How do you handle tenants who are in arrears?
  • What other charges are there besides your management fee?
  • How much experience do you have with tribunals?
  • Do you handle the payment of property expenses (water, council rates etc) on my behalf?
  • How long have you been working as a property manager?
  • Who will be looking after my property?
  • How much does your property management service cost?

Property management companies typically take a commission based on a percentage of the weekly rental amount. This could be anywhere from 5% to 12% depending on where you live, and the industry average is in the region of 7.6%.

This will vary depending on the local market, type of property and the property manager you choose. There are also other fees that you could be liable for, including advertising costs, management fees, lettings fees (typically 2 weeks rent), monthly administration fees, annual statements and lease renewals.There will also be a cost associated with your property manager attending a tenancy tribunal.

We can help make the management part easier. This ensures that you get maximum ROI, and that you’re covered, even if things go wrong. As a welcome offer, we will give you 1 month free management, at a low 5%+ GST charge for the next month and onwards (no hidden fees, you end up saving 45% on average*).

This includes rental valuation, advertising, tenant screening, ongoing support, customised service and much more. Give us a call 1300 622 751 to find out more.

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