What Qualities Make a Good Tenant?

There is not a unique set of qualities, since different landlords will want different tenants.

Nonetheless, there are certain attributes that are commonly considered to be desirable by most landlords:

  • A record of on time payments: The tenant’s primary obligation is to pay their full rent on time. Having a previous record of on time payments indicates that a tenant is financially responsible, and therefore more likely to pay their rent on time. This is why most landlords choose to run credit checks during the application process.

  • A stable income: Similarly, a tenant with a steady income is more likely to pay rent on time. Ideally, you should aim for a tenant whose monthly income is roughly three times the monthly rent, although this may vary depending on your area. You should also be wary if your tenant has a high amount of debt. In a situation where you have two potential tenants, one with an income less than three times the rent and one with a high amount of debt, it is always advisable to choose the former.

  • A good rental history: A good rental history indicates a person was a good tenant in the past. One way to know a person’s previous rental history is to contact their past landlords. Make sure you reach out to more than one landlord to get the complete picture. You should ask if they know why the person is moving elsewhere, if they had any issue with their neighbors, if they paid their rent on time, and if they gave notice prior to moving out.

  • No criminal record: Running a criminal record background check is a common practice when it comes to lease agreements. A good tenant is usually a good citizen. Likewise, an individual with a clean record is less likely to engage in illegal behavior on your property. Be sure to run an extensive criminal background check on your prospective tenant to be sure you will not encounter any unexpected situation in the future.

  • Trustworthiness: Considering you will entrust your property to a tenant who you do not personally know, it’s important to build a solid relationship with them. If you find a prospective tenant lying or giving elusive answers during the application process, you should see this as a red flag. Make sure you ask questions to test the applicant’s honesty.