Finding the perfect match

12 March 2021

In the wake of the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020, Principal of Quinovic Nelson, Juliet Robinson shares four key questions to ask during the tenant selection process.

In my sixteen years in the residential rental industry, I have always recognised tenant selection as the most crucial aspect of effective property management.

The recent legislative changes to how tenancies can be terminated, introduced by the Residential Tenancies Amendment Act 2020 (RTAA), have only affirmed this belief. In any business, the relationship and level of trust between the supplier and customer are essential to success. In this respect, property management is no different.

A tenant who feels respected, comfortable and happy in their home will likely seek a longer tenancy, treat the property as if it was their own, and communicate openly. For a property owner, this means peace of mind, less time with a vacant property and a layer of protection for your investment.

What does a ‘suitable tenant’ mean?

It’s easy to talk about finding the ‘perfect match’ for a property, but what does this actually mean in the context of the New Zealand rental industry?

In my experience, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all ideal tenant. Instead, it’s vital to have a strong understanding of the property, location, local market and property owner’s plans and expectations to make this judgement and help guide prospective tenants. This is where the expertise of a property manager is especially advantageous. Working with a team that focuses solely on property management, like Quinovic, can add decades of experience to the tenant selection process, ensuring your best interest is at the centre of every recommendation.

If you’re an owner and are managing your own property, consider your goals and ask yourself who would be a good fit. If you’re looking to sell in twelve months, perhaps a group of students who have a year left of studying would be a better option for the property. However, if you’re wanting a long-term tenancy and have a property in a quiet, family-centric neighbourhood, a young family might be more suitable. Regardless of the property type and location, there are four key questions in the tenant selection process that Quinovic always considers before offering a tenancy:

1. Are the applicants a practical match for the property?

To confidently answer this question, we require prospective tenants to fill out a pre-tenancy application form. This form complies with privacy regulations and asks applicants to share details about how many people will be living in the property, who will be living in the property, the applicant’s occupation/s and whether or not they have pets. If the property is a small apartment and the applicants have a large, active dog, they likely won’t be the best fit.

2. Is the rent affordable for the applicants?

Viewing properties as a tenant can be an emotional process. If you walk into a home and instantly fall in love, it can be tempting to apply for a tenancy, even if it’s a bit out of your budget. When this is the case, tenancies tend to be shorter and the financial stress can add strain to the relationship for both parties. We ensure property investments are financially protected by completing detailed credit checks.

3. What have the applicant’s past rental experiences been like?

At Quinovic, we always complete reference checks as part of our due diligence. This is an extra step that every rental property owner should take to feel confident in the knowledge that their investment is protected. A reference check is generally a call to three referees, including prior property owners, or an employer if it is an applicant’s first time renting. We ask about their character and their previous rental experiences, including rent payment history and how well they maintained the property.

4. What will the manager-tenant relationship be like?

We answer this final question with a simple face-to-face conversation during the property viewing. It’s important to establish open lines of communication and a trusting relationship from the start. This way, if there is an issue with the property, a change in the tenant’s plans, or the possibility of financial difficulties, the tenants will feel more comfortable sharing this with you early.

At the end of the day, both tenants and property owners want an easy, secure relationship. Investing time into a thorough tenant selection process is the best way to ensure this. If you have any questions or concerns about the tenant selection process, get in touch with your local Quinovic office today.

 

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