Characteristics of a Great Tenant

What makes a great tenant


Interviewing and screening a tenant is a lot like interviewing and screening a potential employee.  There are important traits to look out for that could mean the difference between a relationship with your tenants that is smooth and low-key or one that is tumultuous.  When you own investment properties, you know that who you allow to live in them means everything.  Allowing a tenant with dogs you never met could mean costly damage to your home.  An applicant who has a history of late or missing payment completely undermines why you have an investment property in the first place and could mean an expensive eviction down the road.  As a long-time property manager, we help our property owners mitigate their risks by going through a comprehensive screening system before allowing someone to move in.  With almost 30 years of industry experience, we have seen it all.  If you are going about selecting a tenant on your own and are lucky enough to have a pool of tenants to select from, learn from our experience on the issue!

Ability to Pay

Rent should be less than half of tenant’s income.  30%.  Income only tells half the story though so be sure to look at their credit report.  A credit report can help you glean a better understanding of your potential tenant’s whole financial picture.  They may be overextended on a car they just bought or a credit card they racked up too much debt on.  You never know!  Other indicators of a tenant’s ability to pay may be their employment history.  If a tenant is gainfully employed and has been for many years, you know that your risk is lower for a tenant skipping out on rent because they lost their job. 


Respect towards you is paramount, but can also apply to respect for your property.  Calling your applicant’s previous landlords, employers and references is a good start to finding out if your tenant will be respectful.  Verifying details of their application will help you determine whether your applicant respects you enough to be honest.


Did your potential tenant show up to their showing on time?  This will help you determine if they will pay rent on time, call you in a timely matter if there is a much-needed repair or if they would vacate the premises in time for your next tenant to move in.  You can get a better idea of their punctuality by calling past references or employers and asking them about their history of showing up on time.


This one I almost forgot!  Beware of tenants who tell you their life story within the first two minutes of meeting you.  Now I’m not saying turn away someone for being talkative, but be wary of people who are quick to place the blame on someone else for all their hardships.  People like that often never take responsibility when they are at fault and these are often the same people who have an excuse every month for why they don’t have rent on time, etc.  These people are often high-maintenance and will expect you to make special concessions for them on a regular basis.  You want someone who


This quality covers everything from willingness to take care of day-to-day maintenance with your property to credit score.  A person with a respectable score has demonstrated that they pay their bills and do not bite off more than they can swallow.


This quality is a touchy one because you cannot refuse to rent to a tenant based on appearances, but this can certainly tip you off on what you may need to cover with your tenant before they move in.  If they allow you to meet them at their current residence or you get a glimpse of their car, you can glean a better idea for the way they would maintain your property.  recommends including a cleaning clause in your lease that gives you an opportunity to evict a tenant if they do not keep the property is reasonable condition.  You may already know this, but just in case make sure to also include in your lease that it is the tenant’s responsibility to leave the property in clean condition.  Citing that any cleaning or repairs needed after move out will be paid by the tenant.

If you have property in Durango or want to, please don’t hesitate to call us if we can be of any assistance.  We know the relationship between a tenant and owner can be very labor-intensive and want to simplify the process for you in any way we can.  Call us at 970-259-0222.


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