When you’re renting out a property in Los Angeles County, one of the most important things you will do is choose a tenant. The tenant you place will have a major impact on your rental experience. When you place an outstanding tenant who pays rent on time, takes good care of the home, follows the lease requirements, and remains in place for several years – you can count on a successful tenancy. However, when you place the wrong tenant, you can count on the exact opposite. You’ll have to worry about lease infractions, late or unpaid rent, the potential for property damage, and even a potential eviction.
To find the best possible tenant for your rental property, you need to focus on marketing and tenant screening.
Marketing Your LA County Rental Property
To find the best tenants, you need to cast a wide net and ensure you’re giving your rental property the maximum visibility. Get your listing out there on all the online platforms that prospective tenants are using. Post it on HotPads, Trulia, Zillow, Rentals.com, and Apartments.com. You should also put a professional sign in the yard or in the window, and promote your home’s availability on social media.
Make sure it’s priced properly. If you over-price your home you will only attract unqualified tenants who have been denied elsewhere. They’ll be willing to pay more than the market demands because they’re desperate for a place to live. The best tenants have choices, and they know the average price for a property like yours. Don’t price your home too high.
Communicate with Prospects and Be Responsive
If you want to find and place the best possible tenants, you have to provide the best possible customer service. This begins the moment someone calls or emails asking for more information. If you don’t answer the phone and you don’t return a message, the tenants aren’t going to bother chasing you down. They will simply move onto the next property. Answer your phone, respond to questions, and ask a few of your own before you agree to show the property. Find out why they’re moving, when they want to move, and whether they have any pets. Ask about their income and if they have any evictions or felonies.
Screening Los Angeles Tenants
Once you have some applications rolling in, you’ll need to know how to screen your tenants. This is incredibly important. We’re always surprised at how many landlords barely run a credit check or don’t do any screening at all. There are several things you need to check, including:
- Employment and income verifications. Make sure they work where they say they work and ask for pay stubs, employment contracts, tax forms, or bank statements to verify income.
- Credit and eviction history. Look at the credit report and be wary of any outstanding debts to former landlords, management companies, or apartment communities. Conduct a nationwide eviction check.
- Criminal history. Do a nationwide criminal history as well. Check sexual predator watchlists and the terrorist database.
- Landlord references. Talk to current and former landlords. Find out whether the tenant paid rent on time, took care of the home, and followed the lease terms. Ask if there was any damage after move-out, and if they gave proper notice before leaving.