Whether you are a landlord or a property manager, your primary goal should be to fill your apartments or other rental properties with reliable and qualified tenants. Yet while there are plenty of potential tenants out there, not all of them are going to be ideal for your location. Maybe they have poor credit or have too low of regular income, or perhaps they have a criminal background or a history of damaging property. Either way, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure that you find, rent, and keep quality tenants in your property.

Advertise Your Property Effectively

Advertising is a highly underrated skill for a property manager or landlord, but it plays an important role in finding your ideal tenants. Quality advertising requires you to understand what tenants are looking for and how to emphasize a location’s best traits. Yet you aren’t just promoting the property, you are promoting yourself. Tenants want to know that you will treat them well, so carry yourself with professionalism.

Establish Strong Screening Practices

It isn’t enough to just attract a lot of potential tenants: you also need to be able to filter out the tenants who could be potentially problematic, while still being fair and equitable. This requires you to create a list of criteria, including income level and credit score, then doing your due diligence to ensure that tenants meet those requirements. Carefully review every application, check references, and conduct background checks to make sure all information is accurate.[1]

Find Your USP

A Unique Selling Proposition (or USP) is vital for promoting a property to your ideal tenant. What constitutes a USP will vary depending on your target audience, but it should be something beyond the property itself.[2] Maybe it’s located right next to a popular restaurant, or perhaps it has an excellent view of the ocean. Alternatively, you might have a unique pricing model or specialize in working with a specific target audience. Whatever your USP, it should serve to differentiate you from your competition.

Emphasize Benefits Over Features

Your typical apartment ad will focus on the number of bedrooms there are or what type of appliances are included, and while these are important things to point out, they aren’t as likely to encourage someone to rent a property as you might think. If you really want to get someone’s interest, you should appeal to their emotions: talk about how convenient and comfortable your unit is, showing tenants how much they would enjoy themselves in their new home.

Be Communicative

Once you’ve secured some worthwhile tenants, you need to do your part to make sure that they’re happy, and the first step here is to make yourself open and available. Provide multiple convenient ways for tenants to reach you and treat their opinions and concerns with patience. No matter how nice a location is, if the property manager or landlord doesn’t take feedback or respond to tenant’s concerns, then people aren’t going to stick around for long.

Keep Up With Repairs

Tenants expect landlords and property managers to keep on top of any necessary repairs that a unit needs, so if you want your ideal tenants to stick around, conduct regular inspections and updates (preferably when the apartments or properties are empty). Nothing spoils a tenant’s stay like faulty plumbing or bad wiring, and a failure to maintain a location can drive a wedge in your rental relationships.[3]

Make Sure Your Property Looks Nice

Along with the more necessary repairs and improvements, you shouldn’t hesitate to take steps to make your property beautiful. Flowers and a fresh coat of paint might not be enough to convince a tenant to rent out a property, but it will create a strong first impression during the showing stage. Furthermore, while being pretty might not be enough to secure a rental, a property that looks ugly or run down is unlikely to get anyone in the door.

Address Any Concerns Quickly

One of the stereotypes you’ll often hear about landlords and property managers is that they only get around to dealing with a problem if their tenants hound them about it. Avoid this image at all costs: respond to client communications in a timely manner, and if they have a problem, deal with it at your earliest convenience.

Respect Tenant’s Privacy

Though it’s important that you make repairs and keep up with your tenant’s needs, you should also do so in way that is convenient for them. That means no unannounced drop ins or surprise inspections. In fact, not only are such practices often inconvenient for tenants, they are illegal in many jurisdictions. You might need be the manager, but you shouldn’t enter a tenant’s unit unannounced unless there is an emergency. If you aren’t giving tenants their personal space, they aren’t going to trust you, and a lack of trust means renters are unlikely to stick around.

Build Up Your Professional Reputation

It might seem obvious, but good landlords tend to attract good tenants. After all, if you have a bad reputation, you aren’t going to draw in people who are reliable and have good credit scores. Which is why you should be establishing good relationships with your tenants and be active in your community. The better your reputation is, the more likely you are to attract a positive crop of tenants, and the better you treat these tenants, the more likely that your future tenants will also be of a high quality.

There is no single sure-fire way to only get high quality tenants, and finding those elusive “perfect tenants” will always be a bit of a process. However, it is well worth the time and effort, as the long-term benefits make it worthwhile for property managers, landlords, property owners, and tenants alike.

[1] Esajian, P. (n.d.). Tenant Screening: How To Find Great Renters. FortuneBuilders. Retrieved from https://www.fortunebuilders.com/tenant-screening/

[2] Liamzon, M. (2018, July 31). Finding a Unique Selling Proposition for your Property Management Company. Fourandhalf: A Property Management Marketing Agency. Retrieved from https://fourandhalf.com/property-management-unique-selling-proposition/

[3] Welles, H. (2019, March 29). How to Attract Long-Term Tenants. Landlordology. Retrieved from https://www.landlordology.com/attract-long-term-renters/

About the author

Author profile

Aaron C. Medley is a proud Indiana native. He moved to the Valparaiso area to attend law school in 2012. Upon receiving his juris doctorate from Valparaiso University Law School in 2015, he was admitted to the Indiana State Bar and U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. Before attending law school, Aaron received his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology from Ball State University, cum laude.

After spending three years practicing law outside of the Northwest Indiana region, Aaron moved back to the region to serve the Valparaiso community with his legal practice.

Since 2018, Aaron has served his clients in a multitude of areas of the law with his primary focus on representing individuals and businesses in civil litigation matters. Aaron has gained significant experience in contract dispute litigation, landlord/tenant relations and evictions, real estate and disputes arising from residential real estate purchases. Aaron is a veteran of the United States Navy Reserve, serving as a Master-At-Arms (E-4). In his free time, Aaron enjoys staying active on the golf course and spending time with his family, friends, and especially with his dogs Lincoln and Robert.


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