1st time landlord here. What are qualities I should be looking for in a tenant? What's something subtle that I might not think to ask? Thanks!

Asked by Jay Lo, 02474 Tue May 15, 2012

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Robert Ortiz, Agent, Cambridge, MA
Thu Oct 10, 2013
Above all things stay cozy with the Fair Housing Laws.

* Credit History
* Annual Income
* Length of Employment
* Landlord References (Always try to get the previous one as well as the current)

In Depth
* Non-Smokers
* Pets -- Consider being pet friendly. You can charge a monthly premium per pet and collect a security deposit. People will pay extra because Pet friendly apartments are under-supplied and in demand
* Lead Certified - Consider getting lead certified. Again, undersupplied and in demand, commands more rent.
1 vote
Justin Pepple, Agent, Belmont, MA
Fri Jul 12, 2013
Hi Jay,

The basic preliminary questions would be regarding current/past employment, rental history, pets, as well as a background check and credit report. With this information it should give you a pretty good idea of the tenants criteria/qualifications and if it aligns with what you are looking for. That being said, nobody has a crystal ball and thus a seemingly well qualified tenant could prove to be problematic somewhere down the road. As an experienced Rental Agent we try to take some of the uncertainty out of this process. In general, if everything checks out you can be pretty confident in the applicants. If you are still unsure I would recommend a face to face meeting. This will allow both of you to become acquainted with one another and clear up any questions/concerns that either party may have. If you have any further questions feel free to contact me @ 781-307-7752.
0 votes
John Gambone, , Somerville, MA
Thu Mar 7, 2013
Hi Jay,

Congratulations on being a first time landlord. As a rental agent for many years there are a few specifics that you would want to gather. 1. Rental History 2. Length of Employment 3. Credit Score with Full History / Debt to Income Ratio 4. Income Verification 5. Pets - That's just the basics to start. I run a full background and credit check for all my landlords at no fee to them. If you're interested call me and have a talk about how I can help you with NO fee to you. 857.258.9888
0 votes
James Trano, Agent, Arlington, MA
Tue May 15, 2012
Please contact our office in Arlington MA, Century 21 Adams at 781.648.6900. We are in your neighborhood and will be happy to answer your questions.
Web Reference:  http://www.c21adamsre.com
0 votes
Sherri Way, Agent, Framingham, MA
Tue May 15, 2012
This is not a question that can be answered in one paragraph. There are so many things to consider and so many things to be careful of. You should consider joining a landlord organization which can answer a lot of your questions. Check out the Massachusetts Rental Housing Association web site. http://(www.massrha.com) and look for a group that is close to you. You will learn so much!

I'm a landlord myself so if you have specific questions, feel free to contact me...

Remember one thing... The first rule of being a landlord is that an empty apartment is better than an apartment with a bad tenant! If it doesn't feel right -- it probably isn't!

Good luck!
Web Reference:  http://www.sherriway.com
0 votes
Well said Sherri!
Flag Tue May 15, 2012
Bija Satterl…, Agent, Lexington, MA
Tue May 15, 2012
Congratulations on becoming a Landlord! I hope you do your homework and be sure not to violate any Federal or State Fair housing Laws. Here are just a few things to remember:

Never asking anything that could be interpreted as discrimination -- which would include any questions about: race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, familial status, whether someone is married divorced, gay, and you can't even ask if someone's ever been arrested!

You CAN ask: why are they moving? When do you plan on moving in? What is your monthly income? Will you have the security deposit and first month's rent available upon move-in? How many people will be living in the apartment? Can you provide references from your employer and former landlord?
References from an employer can give you a sense if they have stable income, and if you can speak to a former landlord you may learn if they are a difficult tenant. You can ask if they have ever been evicted.
You can also ask if they have any pets -- if you have a no-pet policy you want to know right away and establish that fact. Also ask if THEY have any questions!

You would also want to run a credit check on them for your own protection.
Good luck!
0 votes
Michael Emery, , Minneapolis, MN
Tue May 15, 2012
Do they have pets? Do they smoke? Who is going to be on the lease with them / be living with them? How long do they plan on renting? Can they afford the rent? Does their background check and credit check reveal any past evictions and credit blips?
0 votes
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