The Tenant Application and Tour
Believe me, a detailed tenant application form can be a windfall of helpful info, but nothing beats a little listening and old-fashioned eavesdropping when sizing up tenants. For that reason, I always make sure that I have another person present during the appointments. That way, one of us can have people fill out an application, while the other shows the unit to the renters who have finished their forms.
A tenant application that gets the scoop will include:
- Employment details
- Salary and banking info
- References, including names of previous landlords
- A list of everyone who will be living there
- Whether the applicant smokes
- Whether the applicant has pets
When conducting tours, I allow folks to take pictures and to spend as much time as they need to look around. Prospective tenants often want a few moments alone as well to discuss the property amongst themselves. But as we go, I keep my ears open and make notes. You can often get a feel for what people will be like as tenants by the things they let slip and the questions they ask on the tour.
Years ago, I showed a five-bedroom house to four young people. They seemed like pleasant, responsible kids, and I had no issue with renting a five-bedroom unit to only four people. Until, that is, they started discussing the fifth bedroom. “This is great,” one of them said. “There’s enough space here for a full drum kit – and a keyboard!” While they might have loved their new music studio, I was pretty sure that others on the block wouldn’t. Paying a little attention saved me, and the neighbours, a bundle on headache relief.
Next article: Part 5 – Check References & Trust Your Gut
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