If you have a rental property in Silicon Valley, it’s up to you to find the right tenants – but where do you start? This guide gives you pointers on how to find great tenants.
How to Find Great Tenants for Your Silicon Valley Rental Property
First things first: You always have the option of working with a property manager who can help you find great tenants. A property manager’s job is to advertise your rental home, take applications and vet people who are interested in renting your property from you.
If you choose not to work with a property manager, you can still find great tenants on your own using the following tips:
- Know where to advertise
- Use a thorough rental application
- Require tenants to buy rental insurance
- Do background checks
- Use a complete, well-formed lease
Here’s a closer look at each.
Tip #1 for Finding Great Tenants: Know Where to Advertise
You won’t find any tenants if nobody knows your space is for rent, so do a little research on the best places to advertise. Word-of-mouth is a great start, but you should also list your house on rental websites, put a “For Rent” sign in the yard, and possibly even invest in a classified ad to reach as many people as possible. Some people also put fliers in well-trafficked areas.
Related: What is rent control?
Tip #2 for Finding Great Tenants: Use a Thorough Rental Application
You need a complete rental application to vet prospective tenants. At minimum, you should ask for:
- Names and current addresses
- Social Security numbers to go with permission for a background check
- Previous addresses and references from past landlords
- Income sources and amounts
- Number of pets
- Employer contacts
- References that are not family members
You absolutely must be careful about your rental application, though – you have to ensure that it has nothing that could remotely be construed as discriminatory in it so that you avoid running afoul of fair housing laws.
Tip #3 for Finding Great Tenants: Require Tenants to Buy Rental Insurance
Before people apply to rent your space, let them know that you’ll require them to show proof of renter’s insurance when they move in; that protects you and your investment should something go wrong while they’re in residence. Renter’s insurance covers the cost of your tenants’ belongings and damage that they may cause to your house.
Pro Tip: You should also consider purchasing landlord insurance on the property if you intend to rent it to tenants.
Tip #4 for Finding Great Tenants: Do Background Checks
The best way to determine whether someone will make a great tenant is to look at their past history. You can hire a checking service or an attorney to conduct background and credit checks – just make sure you have the prospective tenant’s signed permission to do so.
Tip #5 for Finding Great Tenants: Use a Complete, Well-Formed Lease
You always need a strong lease agreement when you rent out a property. The ideal solution is to work with an attorney to get a customized lease (rather than relying on a generic download from a website). That way, you protect yourself in the event that something goes wrong.
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