When it comes to finding a tenant in the competitive Stuart, Florida rental market, flexibility in what you allow can expand your pool of prospective tenants and minimize vacancies. Here are some things to consider when seeking a tenant for your rental property:
-You may want to allow a shorter lease term or offer an early termination clause (you can charge a higher rent or require a cancellation fee). This works well for corporate transferees and relocating families who plan on purchasing a home. They also can be good tenants as their move is often subsidized or they have cash from the sale of their home.
-Offer a step-up lease for a desirable tenant who is unsure of the rent. A step-up lease starts at a lower rent and increases after a six month period. You may want to include verbiage that the tenant can cancel the lease without penalty at the end of six-months if he is unwilling to pay the rent increase.
-Be flexible about allowing small pets (with an additional pet fee or deposit).
-Allow the tenant to pay the security deposit over a period of several months.
About Credit Challenged Prospects
Due to the loss of a home and other issues arising from this economy, many prospective tenants will have damaged credit. You may want to be flexible on credit standards as many of these people have money and will need a home; it makes sense to try and find a way to work with them.
-Do not let a tenant with a poor credit history spread out his security deposit over several months.
-Be sure to perform a detailed background check.
-Set the ground rules going in. For example:
- The rent is due in full at the first of the month.
- The late fee goes into effect on the 4th.
- The eviction process starts on the 8th.
- If they vacate by the 15th, leaving the unit undamaged and broom-clean, their security will be returned, otherwise you will file suit.
I have been listing rental properties here in the Stuart area since 2003 with few problems. But I have had several evictions over the past year, largely due to the recession. That said, as a landlord it is important that you perform your due diligence and enforce tenant rules.