Finding reliable tenants for your Colorado Springs rental property is one of the best ways to protect your investment property and ensure you have a pleasant, stress-free tenancy. When you identify and place great residents, you also have a better chance of retaining those renters, which means you’ll face fewer vacancy and turnover costs at the end of your lease period.
Sometimes, it’s a bit overwhelming to find a good tenant. There are hundreds of rental listings out there on the Colorado Springs rental market at any given time; how can you make sure your property stands out and attracts the best tenants? And, once you get their attention, what should you consider when you’re choosing a tenant?
Reliable tenants are worth the time and resources you have to invest to find them.
They pay rent on time. They help you take care of your property. Reliable tenants will also respect the terms of the lease agreement and meet your expectations. They’ll communicate openly and honestly, and they’ll work with you to maintain a positive and professional relationship.
Finding and placing reliable tenants begins with providing an exceptional property that good residents will want to rent. Make sure it’s attractive and in good condition. Pay attention to your curb appeal. Make a good first impression during the marketing and showing process.
We’re providing some of our own tips to you today, so you’ll have an easier time finding reliable tenants for your rental property. Don’t forget your fair housing requirements, and if you run into any trouble, reach out to a Colorado Springs property manager for help.
Establish Rental Criteria for Your Ideal Tenant
When you establish a consistent set of rental criteria for every applicant to meet, you’re accomplishing a couple of important things. First, you’re telling prospective tenants what you’re looking for and what they’ll need in order to be approved for your property. This may be a minimum credit score, a specific income threshold, or a clear eviction history and documented employment. Second, you’re protecting yourself against potential claims of discrimination. Fair housing laws are strict, and it’s imperative that you screen each tenant consistently and fairly. The best way to do that is to establish some qualifying rental criteria.
A good set of criteria will help you find the most reliable tenant and keep you in the right fair housing lanes. Qualifying criteria keeps your screening process consistent and objective.
Always provide the criteria before a prospective tenant fills out an application. You can even get ahead of this by providing some of what you require in your listing.
- State the rental amount in your ad so you’ll only hear from people who can afford the rent.
- State whether pets are allowed.
- Share any credit standards you have.
- List the move-in date and length of the lease term.
- List the security deposit you’ll want to collect.
When you include as much information as possible in your listing, you know that only qualified tenants will apply.
Be completely transparent about what you’re looking for during the marketing and screening process. It saves you time and ensures that you’ll get a pool of reliable tenants applying for your property. You’ll also have a more reliable tenancy; these criteria will reduce your eviction rate and cut down the amount of time that’s spent managing bad tenants.
Attracting Reliable Tenants Begins with Pricing
You need to let the tenant pool know that you have a great home for rent. Use some strategic marketing to cast a wide net and bring in a lot of qualified renters. It’s easy enough to create a great listing with professional-level photos and concise, informative descriptions. What tenants will really be looking at is your price. Make sure it’s accurate and competitive.
You don’t want to set a rental rate that’s too low. With Colorado’s rent control laws, there are limits to how much you’ll be able to raise that rent at renewal time. You don’t want to slip too far behind. However, you need to keep your price competitive when you want to secure reliable tenants.
Those tenants you’re hoping to attract will always understand the rental market. They know what homes are renting for, and when they come to you with good credit, verifiable income, and a solid rental history, they also know that they have options. They won’t be willing to rent an overpriced home. They won’t even bother seeing it.
Understand your rental value, and study the market so you know what similar homes are renting for in your neighborhood. You have to be in an appropriate rental range, and you have to understand that the best tenants are looking for value.
Market Your Colorado Springs Rental Property to Great Tenants
Marketing should be directed at reliable tenants who are looking for high-quality homes.
Use the rental sites that are well-trafficked by tenants. These might include Zillow, Zumper, Trulia, Rentals.com, HotPads, and PadMapper. If you’re not already working with a Colorado Springs property manager, this is a great time to consider it. We can streamline the marketing efforts and make things far more efficient. That’s because of the technology we use, and the syndicated feed we have through our software.
The right marketing will effectively attract the right tenants to your property.
Showings Can Help You Identify Qualified Residents
When you have a great listing and a good price, you’ll quickly attract interest from tenants. Prepare to respond to those inquiries, and be ready to schedule showings. This is a great opportunity to pre-screen for those reliable tenants you’re seeking.
Before you begin screening and talking to prospective tenants, you can ask a few simple questions.
- When are you planning to move?
- Why do you want to move?
- How much income do you earn?
- Do you have pets?
Do as much pre-screening as possible before you schedule a showing. Provide potentially interested tenants with a copy of your qualified rental criteria so they know what you’re looking for before they apply.
Before you begin to show your property, make sure it’s rent ready. The light bulbs need to be changed, the home needs to be clean, and it should also smell good. Turn the lights on and make sure the lawn has been mowed and the front of the house looks welcoming and inviting.
Screening Colorado Springs Tenants: Best Practices
When you’re looking for a reliable tenant, you have to screen for one.
Set your income standards in accordance with the amount of rent you’re collecting. You want to be sure your tenants can afford what you’re charging.
Best practices in Pueblo property management say that a tenant should earn at least three times the monthly rent in order to safely cover that expense and meet their other obligations. So, if you’re renting out a home for $2,000 a month, you’re looking for a minimum monthly income of $6,000.
This income requirement should cover all of the tenants who are moving into the property. Adult partners and roommates who each earn their own salaries can combine that income to meet your requirements.
Verifying the income is as important as setting the criteria. Ask to see recent pay stubs that reflect what a tenant claims they earn. You can also use employment contracts and tax returns. For self-employed individuals, bank statements can be useful so they can show you the deposits that are made.
- Credit Scores and Reports
Running credit is a standard part of screening tenants, and you’ll want to be sure you get permission for this type of record search when your tenant completes an application. Some owners will have a credit score cut-off as part of their criteria, and that can be valuable in determining who will be considered and who will not. You’ll want to consider more than the score, however. Check into the details you find on the full credit report. Some debt is an acceptable risk when you’re renting out a home – other debt isn’t.
You want to know that housing-related bills are paid. You don’t want to see utility accounts that are overdue or in collections.
- Rental History and Evictions
Checking for past evictions is one of the first things you should do when choosing a tenant. Maybe you’ll have a strict policy of not renting to tenants who have prior evictions on their record. Or, maybe you’ll consider a tenant who has an eviction that’s more than 10 years old, and they’ve demonstrated a reliable rental history since then.
Be sure to look at the national eviction database. It’s also a good idea to check for judgments against the applicant and situations where money is still owed to a former landlord or apartment complex.
Always conduct reference checks. Prior landlords can provide a lot of great information about how a tenant has performed in the past. Ask for at least two landlord references on your application and verify the contact information so you can be sure you aren’t calling the applicant’s friends or family members.
Finding a reliable tenant in Colorado Springs doesn’t have to be difficult. We can help. Contact us at Muldoon Associates, and we’ll make some additional recommendations on marketing, screening, and leasing so we can find some high-quality tenants for your Colorado Springs investment property.