How To Find Good Tenants Fast: The Ultimate Guide

Knowing what makes a 'good' renter and how to find tenants is vital to reducing expensive vacancies, increasing tenant retention, and avoiding issues like missed rent payments and property damage.

Whether you are a new to real estate, or an experienced landlord, finding good tenants can be hard.

You can't rent to just anyone - but you also can't let your property sit empty for too long.

When finding renters you need to ensure they will be able to and willing to fulfill their obligations as a tenant. They need to:

  • Pay the rent on time every month,
  • Take care of the property or unit,
  • And communicate maintenance issues with you clearly.

A good tenant will make your life easier and may even stay for multiple leases. A bad tenant could result in headaches, lawsuits, and evictions.

While there’s no way to be absolutely certain that a renter is going to be “good”, there are a few things that can be done to increase the odds. From your marketing to your tenant screening and beyond.

In this article, we detail everything you need to know about how to find good tenants fast. We’ve even also got lease templates, details on how to run tenant screenings advice on managing communications, and we even explore a free tool you can use to streamline the whole process.


How to find the best tenants infographic

What Makes a Good Tenant?

When selecting a tenant, you want to ensure that they can and will pay rent on time and in full every single month and that they will look after your property.

There are several ways you can determine the above, including running a credit check to get an idea of their financial responsibility, requesting proof of their current income (generally, you’re looking to ensure the tenants earn a minimum of 3x the monthly rent amount), and looking at their previous rental history to see if they have previously paid rent on time.

Secondary concerns to think about include assessing whether or not the prospective tenant will be tidy and respectful of your property during their tenancy. Though this is harder to determine, you can again look at indicating factors such as rental and eviction history.

Factors you can’t use when choosing a tenant

When setting your tenant standard you must make sure not to discriminate against any of the protected classes. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the purchase, sale, rental, or financing of housing – private or public – based on race, skin color, sex, nationality, or religion. The statute has been amended several times, including in 1988 to add disability and family status.

Factors you can use when choosing a tenant

You can however use the following factors to set qualifying criteria for tenants:

  • A minimum income requirement (eg. 2-3x monthly rent);
  • Eviction history;
  • Prior felonies & criminal background;
  • Credit score;
  • Capability to provide a security deposit;
  • Landlord references.

There are other traits like clear communication that also contribute to a good tenant, they're not easy to quantify, so we won't delve into them here.

How To Find Tenants In 8 Steps

Step 1. Writing Your listing

In order to find good tenants, you need to create a rental listing that will generate interest in your property. The better your rental listing the more interest and the higher the quality of applicant you are likely to get.

Create and syndicate rental listings with Landlord Studio. Find out more here →

As such, to find a renter your very first step is writing your rental listing and gathering the assets eg. the photography of the property that will make it stand out from the crowd and encourage great tenants to enquire immediately.

Writing a great listing when looking for tenants

Write a catchy title that includes the price, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, and type of property. Highlight a great feature of the property to make it really stand out.

Eg. $800pm – 2 bed/1 bath apartment with balcony and skyline views of the city in Old Chicago Town

Write a short description in which you:

  • Highlight the property’s best features eg. is it near downtown, near parks, or has schools close by? Does it have tall ceilings, a usable fireplace, en suites, or a garden?
  • Use positive descriptive words such as beautiful, cozy, intimate, spacious, traditional, funky, etc.
  • Talk about the neighborhood – why would they want to live in this area? Is it professional, fun, quiet, vibrant?
  • Describe what’s nearby – parks, universities, bars, restaurants, schools, train lines,
    Give an exciting detail – large garden, beautiful views, balcony, hardwood floors, new renovations, etc
  • Give details about the rental – are pets allowed? What’s the smoking policy? Are utilities included? How much is the deposit?
  • Outline how renters should get in contact to express their interest. Include details of the application process, the credit and background check process and fee, plus a contact name and number.

Related: How To Write The Perfect Rental Listing

Getting photos to find good tenants

Your photography is your first impression. Bad photography will dramatically reduce your chances of capturing interest and reduce the quality of applicants and the number. Some useful tips are:

  • Always include multiple photos
  • Photograph all of the major rooms.
  • Make sure it’s tidy and photographs show off the best elements. Eg. there is a balcony with a view make sure there are photos that show it.
  • Think about the lighting – you will want to photograph the property during the day when there is plenty of natural light.
  • Think about hiring a professional.
  • Include a floor plan.
  • Consider including video tours.

Related: How To Get Great Rental Photos For Your Listing

Keep your rental property description concise. Use short sentences and paragraphs and make sure that the text is easily skimmable. Avoid using all caps and exclamation marks and ensure the listing is grammatically correct.

Step 2. How To Find Renters: Setting Your Criteria

Setting predetermined minimum criteria for your prospective renters will make it easier for you to judge applicants on allowable factors, like credit score and rental history.

If none of your prospective tenants meets the standards then you should continue showing the property. If multiple tenants meet the pre-described standards then you should simply rent to the first of the qualifying tenants that applied. Bear in mind the Fair Housing Act as outlined above.

Your criteria might look like this for example:

  • Credit score requirement: 650+
  • No previous evictions on record.
  • Monthly income of 3x the rent.
  • No felonies.

Be strict, and apply your criteria fairly to every single applicant. If for any reason you do decide to lower your standards, for example, the property might have been empty for too long, then think about increasing the deposit (check your local laws to determine maximum deposits), or even getting a cosigner.

Step 3. How To Find Tenants: Online Rental Listings

Find renters on Zillow

Zillow is one of the biggest property listing websites in the US and it’s free to list on. The features include an interactive map and allow prospective tenants to compare two properties side by side. You can boost your Zillow listing for a flat fee of $29.99 for up to 90 days.

There platform comes with several additional useful property management tools including tenant screening and rent collection.

Find rents on Zumper

Zumper is the second biggest platform for rental listings offering a user firendly inetrface. Like Zillow they have basic tools for rent collection and tenant screening as part of their service.

It's also free for landlords to use and they offer the ability for you to boost your listing for as little as $9.90.

Find renters on Craigslist

Craigslist is where many people turn for everything from jobs to accommodation. It’s an inexpensive option and allows you to word your listing in your own way. The main problem is that not everyone will be serious when they inquire and that can take up a lot of time.

Find renters on Facebook

Facebook’s more recent updates are leaning towards pushing their groups and their marketplace, so listing on the marketplace and pushing through Facebook’s relevant groups is a surefire way to reach a large audience.

Related: 12 Free Rental Listings Sites To Advertise Your Property

Create and syndicate listings with Landlord Studio

With Landlord Studio you can quickly and easily create a free rental listing and syndicate it across top sites including, Zillow, Zumper, Trulia, and Hotpads with the click of a button.

Maximize your rental listing's exposure without going through the hassle of managing multiple accounts and centralize your lead management into a single system.

o share your listing on sites like Craigslist or Facebook simply copy and paste your listings URL into your listing.

Creating and syndicating your rental listing with Landlord Studio is completely FREE. To get started create your free account today.

Step 4. Collect and Prescreen Tenant Leads

Having an efficient and professional lead management process is essential if you want to secure the best tenants. Tenants will likely be looking at numerous properties at the same time. If your process is too slow a more prepared landlord may secure the tenant first, leaving you with your second or even third choices.

At the same time, it doesn’t make sense to put every potential tenant through the same expensive and time-consuming screening process. You need a way to quickly filter out unqualified tenants.

The easiest way to do this is to collect and manage your applicants using Landlord Studio. Tenants can inquire via your unique Landlord Studio listing URL, and you can use our built-in prescreening questionnaire to efficiently glean all the information you need to make a preliminary decision to weed out time wasters and compare leads.

Step 5. Manage and Screen Tenant Applicants

Once you’ve identified qualified tenants, you can then easily run a tenant screening report with Landlord Studio.

We supply a comprehensive TransUnion tenant screening report which includes everything you need to know to make an informed decision including:

  • Credit Score
  • ResidentScore
  • SSN Verification
  • Address History
  • Nationwide Criminal & Sex Offender Search
  • Nationwide Evictions
  • Bankruptcies

Completed reports can be reviewed via the app or desktop software allowing you to streamline the process and ensure you fill your vacancies fast with the very best tenants.

Learn more about tenant screening with Landlord Studio →

How To Run A Background & Credit Check using Landlord Studio

A lesson from our Tenant Screening Secrets course.

Step 6. Final Tenant Checks

Check their landlord references

Landlord reference checks are a great way to discover what kind of tenant an applicant is. Often landlords can give you insights that even the most detailed tenant screening report couldn’t give you. For example, they might constantly complain about minor issues, or be very loud and cause issues with neighbors.

Or, while they might not have been through an eviction, they may have regularly been late with rent payments. Going the extra distance to contact their previous landlord can help you avoid issues like this.

Corroborate their story on public platforms

You can often get a good sense of the type of tenant someone is going to be by quickly Googling them and checking their social profiles like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. For example, they might have said they work as an accountant, but when you look on LinkedIn there is no evidence of this, and their career history doesn’t support this either.

Step 7. Sign The Airtight Lease

The lease is the legal document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant. It allows the tenant to occupy and use the property for a specific period of time under certain conditions.
In this way, the lease forms a layer of legal protection for both parties and ensures that both landlord and tenant are clear in their roles towards the property. For example, there might be a joint and several liability clauses, or the details of the landlord’s pet policy. Having the rules clearly outlined upfront will help ensure neither party breaks them.

Step 8. Move The Tenant In

Once you’ve secured an awesome tenant you want to make sure the moving in process goes off without a hitch.

Sending through a detailed welcome letter that outlines the key things they need to know about the house is a great start.

Your welcome letter should provide the following information:

  • Next steps and move-in details;
  • Setting up utilities;
  • Reminder about renters insurance;
  • How to pay rent
  • How to report maintenance issues;
  • Information on garbage collection;
  • Parking information – if relevant;
  • Neighborhood guidance;
  • Contact info.

Following that, something that often yields great ROI is leaving a welcome package for your tenants upon move-in.

Include your welcome letter as well as a few other things like:

  • Cleaning supplies;
  • Information about the area;
  • Local take-out restaurant menus;
  • A small appropriate gift.

Next Steps: Collection Rent Online

Your work as a landlord doesn't stop once you've secured your tenant and signed the lease. You need to store documents for reference, mange routine inspections, respond to maintenance requests, and of course collect rent.

The best way to collect rent is to use purpose-built software like Landlord Studio to securely collect your rent online. With Landlord Studio payments are made directly into your bank account. Tenants can log into the online portal to view upcoming and historical payments, and even set up automatic payments so you never experience late rent again.

On top of that, you're in control. You set the rent amount, can block partial payments, and automate time-consuming tasks like rent reminder emails, rent receipts, late fees, and even income tracking.

Find out how to collect rent with Landlord Studio →

Final Words: Focus On Tenant Retention

It’s not enough to simply secure great tenants. In order to avoid going through this whole process every year (or even more frequently with costly evictions), there are a few things that you can do to ensure your tenant has a stress-free renting experience and wants to stay in your property for longer.

As mentioned above, the first thing to consider is ensuring you have an efficient method for collecting rent. With rent collection being the number one reason for evictions in the US, employing a system like Landlord Studio to help reduce missed and late rent payments is a no-brainer.

Secondly, ensure that maintenance requests are responded to and handled quickly. Again these tasks can be tracked and prioritized in Landlord Studio to help you ensure you never let even small tasks slip through the cracks.

Find out how to streamline property maintenance with Landlord Studio →

Finally, one of the main reasons tenants choose to move is because of what they deem unfair rent increases. So, whilst it’s good business sense to raise the rent regularly by small amounts to keep the rent in line with the current market rates, significant raises will often have your tenants checking out. The subsequent vacancy could end up costing you more than the rent raise would make you.

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