How to Find the Right Tenant in San Diego

Homeowners receiving keys for new home

One of the most important tasks that any landlord has to carry out is finding a reliable tenant for their rental property. You need the peace-of-mind knowing that you are handing over the keys of your property to someone who is going to take care of it and who will always pay their rent on time.

Unfortunately, not all tenants are responsible and if you end up with a bad one, you could find yourself in financial difficulty because of their missed rent payments or your property could end up requiring some huge maintenance work.

Therefore, it’s important to take the time to find the right kind of tenant when you are renting out a property in San Diego. Here are 7 great tips that will help ensure your investment property is headache free.

Look For A Financially Sound Tenant

You want to know that your tenant will keep up with their monthly rent payments, so it’s necessary to check each applicant’s finances to ensure that they are in a stable position. As well as being able to pay on time, being in a good financial position should also give you an idea that they will be responsible for the property as a whole.

In order to check their finances, you should request copies of their pay stubs. Ideally, they need to earn at least three times the rent. You can also call their employee to confirm their employment and earnings as well as the length of their employment.

It’s also wise to carry out a credit check as well. This will show you their history of paying bills and how much debt they currently have. Even if they do earn enough, it could be a red flag if they have a lot of debt and their history shows they regularly pay bills late.

Always Carry Out Background Checks

You will be able to view an applicant’s criminal record at your local courthouse. Serious and minor offences will be flagged in this record. In order to check this out, you just need your tenant’s name and date of birth.

One thing to be aware of is that the state of California prevents landlords from discriminating against potential tenants with certain offences on their record. For instance, you might be able to deny a tenant that has previous drug charges against them, but won’t be able to stop someone with a minor offence like a speeding ticket from renting from you.

Be aware that checking the criminal record for every potential tenant can be time-consuming and there is no nationwide record, which makes the checks even harder to carry out. Because of this, some landlords hire a San Diego Property Management Company to do all of this for them.

Take A Look At Rental History

It’s always recommended to get references from at least two of an applicant’s previous landlords. There are a number of questions that you should ask, such as:

  1. Whether the tenant paid their rent on time?
  2. Did they keep the property clean?
  3. Were they respectful to their neighbors?

Don’t worry if one of your applicants has never rented before and does not have any rental history. You can ask for a co-signer on the lease so that there is someone else who can also be responsible.

Only Take Stable Tenants

When you are looking through an applicant’s forms, you should see all their previous addresses and employers. Taking a look at these should give you an idea of how stable the individual is. If they switch their jobs or home quite often, then it could be a bad sign. This behavior will likely continue, so they might not stick around in your property for too long as you might have to deal with a vacant property sooner rather than later. Plus, irregular employment shows that they might not be in such a strong financial position, even though they might be earning enough for the rent right now.

No More Than Two People Per Bedroom

Generally speaking, it’s always best to rent a property to a minimum number of people. Ideally, there should be no more than two people to a bedroom. The more people there are, the more noise they will cause for neighbors and the more the property will suffer from wear and tear.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Not renting a one-bedroom apartment to two adults and an infant could be seen as discriminatory, for instance. Some properties that have sensitive plumbing and sewage systems, such as septic tanks, may also be limited to the number of people who can live there for hygiene reasons.

Go With Your Gut

Of course, there will be times when your instincts will tell you everything you need to know about a tenant. Even if someone looks perfect on paper, but you have an uneasy feeling about them, it’s best not to rent to them as long as it’s not for discriminatory reasons. After all, it’s your property and you need to have peace of mind about who will be living in it. By all means, do all the screening mentioned above, but if something still feels wrong then always follow your gut.

Follow Fair Housing Laws

Lastly, it’s important to note that you should always follow the law when choosing a new tenant. For instance, you need to consider all potential tenants equally. You are not allowed to dismiss someone’s application based on their gender, age, race, familial status, disability, or country of origin.

Most of the states have their own set of rules regarding fair housing that you will need to follow as well. Be sure to check these out so that you are compliant with local housing laws.

All of these tips should help you find the perfect tenant when it’s time to rent out your property in San Diego. Once they have moved in, you can expect a long tenancy that is free from too many issues and problems! If you’re having issues with or don’t want the hassle of dealing with any of the tenant screening task above, consider contacting a Property Management Company in San Diego.