Renting a house, townhome, or apartment to someone who has never rented before, but owned a home, sounds like a dream come true tenant. But what do you really need to consider, and know, about someone with no rental history?
Here are some things to think about:
- This renter won’t have a rental history or former landlord for reference. Of course, a record of consistent mortgage payments is something to look at. But it’s possible you won’t know how they really “live” in their home. Drive by their current house and see if it is in good repair. Is there evidence of pets? Talk to a neighbor or two, if you happen to see one nearby, for some additional insights.
- Running a credit check is always good practice, but particularly with this rental scenario. It could help you see a better picture of the renter’s situation and possibly even the reason for the change, adding another level of understanding.
- Renters making the transition from homeowner to renter can be doing so for a variety of reasons. Some happy, some not happy at all. So, consider that you might not be meeting this person at their best, or true, self. Perhaps they’ve just retired and don’t want the hassle of taking care of the yard and repairs around the house. Or the kids finally left and they want to move to something smaller – so there won’t be room for the kids to move back in with them! They might have just split with their spouse, who got the house. Or they’re downsizing because of the loss of a loved one.
- Tenants who have owned a home tend to take better care of their property – and yours. They are often more aware of things that need to be repaired. Which can be good, or bad. These renters can sometimes more impatient, or demanding, if they feel it is taking you too long to resolve or repair something. Or they could take it upon themselves with a result that isn’t up to your standards.
- These renters can also be more aware of the responsibilities of property ownership. They often treat your property with respect, as if it were their own.
- Prior homeowners might have had a garden or perfect lawn. This can be an advantage if they have colorful plants or flowers, or offer to keep weeds out of the landscaping. They might improve the appearance of your property just by having plants on the deck of their apartment.
- They’ll understand the importance of utilities, including garbage collection. They might be less likely to leave lights on and prompt about taking out their garbage.
Overall, prior homeowners tend to make great renters. Just remember to always follow your best practices along with your gut feelings. If you do that, chances are you can have a responsible, long-term renter.
Written by Melanie Olsen