Finding the ‘Ideal’ Tenant

This will be my first series post and this is Part 1. In this series I will be sharing my thoughts and experiences on my journey to finding the Ideal Tenant.

My fiance recently purchased a house and initially the plan was to live there and settle down but due to personal reasons, we think it would be best to rent it out for at least a year. He took possession a few weeks ago and now we are searching for a great tenant.

Listing your Property for Rent

So the first step is to get your house out there. I opted to advertise on Kijiji, Craigslist and a few other house rental websites. Almost immediately I had people calling and emailing me requesting to see the house. Alternatively you can list your rental through a realtor and pay them a commission fee, which is usually around 1 month’s rent of your rental listing price.

Setting up Appointments

You will without a doubt start receiving inquiries about your rental. People may just ask a simple question i.e.) if there is a bathroom in the basement, separate entrance, etc. While some may include a brief summary of how many people they are, when they are looking to rent, if they have any pets, if they work in the area and why they are leaving their current residence.

To people who request a showing, I try to respond within the hour of receiving new inquiries and respond by saying:

Thank you for your interest in this house. Please note that we have showings available for {insert time and date). Please advise if this time and day works for you so that we may setup a mutual appointment.

In the interim, I have attached a rental application for your convenience.

Also, do you currently live or work in the area?

Look forward to hearing from you.


There are some people who will inquire about your rental and then make appointments and cancel at the last minute and ask to reschedule,  after the second last minute cancellation, I do not bother with them any further. There are also people who want every single member of their family to come see the house and will ask for multiple appointments, to their convenience. These people will simply waste your time and energy; it is not worth the hassle.

Screening Potential Tenants

So it’s been a week and you have had several people come by and see the house, a few no shows – which is bound to happen, and a few tenants that try to sell themselves at the showing, all is well and good but a final decision cannot be made until the whole application process is complete. In my experience there are four types of tenants, they include:

1) Go-Getter George
This tenant comes with the rental application all filled out, their employment letter in hand and are prepared for any questions you have and are willing to . This tenant also follows up after the showing and lets you know that he will send the rest of the paperwork by a certain day. This tenant also responds to emails in a timely manner. This tenant knows they are an ideal tenant and willingly provide their references, employment letter and credit score. The thing with Go-Getter George is that he is in high demand and other landlords may want him as their tenant too.

2) Clueless Sue
This tenant just has no idea, they call you to ask for the address of the house, which is clearly provided on the rental listing. They write down the wrong rental price on the application, they say they will send their documents and you don’t hear from them for a few days. This tenant has no sense of urgency, even though they claim to be looking for a place to rent ASAP. This is the person that believes that liking the house, submitting their application and paperwork guarantees them the rental. This person stresses you out and constantly reminds you that they have given their landlord notice and that they will get you their paperwork. This is the same person who three days later hasn’t provided any paperwork. When you finally decide to follow up, they have this sudden sense of urgency and leave work to come by and drop off their forms in your mailbox. You then drive all the way from work to pick up the papers only to find out that half of the documents aren’t there. You follow up with Clueless Sue and she admits that she was distracted and have them beside her in her car. Enough said. This person is very unorganized and clueless which alludes to what kind of tenant she will be.

3) Mysterious Mike
This tenant seems quiet, makes very little conversation at the showing and seems like he has something to hide. This is the man that seems to dodge any questions you have and selectively responds to your emails. This person often has a bad credit history/score, not so hot references and is unemployed or on welfare. This type of tenant is not ideal and may create issues later on down the line.

4) Honest Heather
This tenant knows they have something that may effect their application, it may be a low credit score or poor credit history. or lack of income and will give you any relevant background information. Honest Heather is very upfront. Their spouse may not work and they prove that they can afford the rent, etc. This person answers all the questions and also has questions for you.

There are certainly other types of tenants, or tenants that are a combination of the four types I explained above, but those are the ones that stand out. At the end of the day, you as a landlord have to decide which tenant works best for you. There are obviously certain other factors that play a role in deciding who to rent your property out to.

Are you a landlord? Have you had experience with any of these types of tenants? Are you a tenant yourself?

Part 2 to follow!

Stay strong and beautiful!



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