The biggest challenge most landlords face is finding reliable tenants to fill their properties. Vacant time means money lost, but the wrong tenants can deplete your property value or cost you a lot of money in eviction fees. The process of finding tenants requires you to work fast, be available, and know the right questions to ask. With all of the properties available to renters in San Diego, you will want to make sure your property stands out and you can offer exceptional services throughout the process to showcase your ability to be a professional landlord.
Fair Housing Laws
When looking for tenants, be aware of compliance laws related to renting your property. In San Diego, the Fair Housing Laws prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin. This includes printing advertisements about tenant preferences. In addition, owners should be aware of their responsibility to reasonably accommodate persons with disabilities. For example, you may be required to grant an exception to a “no pet” policy if the individual requires a service animal. In general, property owners never intend to violate the fair housing laws. Most violations are the result of a misunderstanding. However, lack of compliance can be costly.
Advertising the Property
You’ll want to post ads in multiple places to attract as many potential tenants as possible.
Online advertisements: Websites like Craigslist, Trulia, Post it, Rent.com, and Zillow generate prospects from outside of the city.
Physical advertisements: Newspaper ads, yard signs, and flyers may seem old school, but they are still effective for locals.
Word-of-mouth: Tell your friends and family about the vacancy so they can spread the word. Word-of-mouth referrals are usually some of the best tenants.
When creating your ads, be prepared to list any property highlights: close to public transportation, all new appliances, large balcony, etc. Include square footage, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, neighborhood name, and expected monthly rent. Leave out advertising that the property is vacant.
You’ll need to be reachable by phone every day from about 8 am to 9 pm. If potential tenants cannot reach you, they’ll move on to other property options.
Screening the Candidates
Screening applicants is one of the most exciting parts of the rental process. It is also the most crucial. Finding the right tenants eliminates early cancellations, late/missing payments, and costly evictions. The process requires careful analysis and patience to locate the right fit. In general, consider what they are looking for in a property, their ability to pay the rent and utilities, and their willingness to abide by the contract. Your application may include:
Social security number: So you can run a background or credit check
Length of time at current address: You are looking for someone with consistent behaviors
Contact information for past landlords: These references are often more reliable than a credit check
Contact information for a current employer: We suggest getting written approval to call and confirm employment.
Income: In general, they should make at least three times more than the monthly rent
Personal and credit references: This is always a good character reference
Accepting an Applicant:
If you choose to accept any applicants, call them as soon as possible. Any time wasted may result in them choosing another property. Have a contract prepared and ready to sign. Then, review the lease with them to make sure they understand the terms and agreements.
Hire a Property Manager
If posting ads, screening applicants, and preparing a lease agreement seems a little overwhelming, you can also choose to hire a property manager. This a great option for owners with limited time. Buy Sell Rent San Diego, for example, takes care of all of the property marketing, showing the property, and screening for the best candidates for you. We perform credit checks, background checks, and call references to ensure you feel comfortable with your new tenants. In addition, we also coordinate routine and emergency repairs throughout the leasing period to keep your property in the best shape.
Whether you are managing your rental process by yourself or hiring a property manager, make sure you take the time to properly educate yourself about how to protect yourself and your property from bad tenants. If you are interested in learning more about hiring a property manager, you can watch this short video with tips for selecting a property manager or contact Claudette Cooper at (619) 825-1974 today.