First time tenants can be unpredictable. They don’t have a rental history, so there is no way to know how they will treat a rental property. They also may not know everything that a seasoned renter will. If you end up renting to a first-time tenant, you may want to go over some of the minutiae with them in case they forget. Aside from helping your tenant out, it will also help them become a better renter in the long run. However, giving your new tenant a full education on how to be a good renter may prove exhausting, so here are a few things they may need to know most:
First-time renters are notorious for not reading the fine print. If you pay for garbage and water services, but not for electricity and gas, let your renter know. They may have seen “utilities” near “provided” and just assumed it was everything. And as cute as dining by candlelight might be for one night, it gets old pretty quickly.
Also be sure to let them know that services like internet and TV are things they will need to set up themselves. You can even go the extra mile and give them the names and numbers of utility companies they can call before they move in.
Basic Maintenance Responsibilities
If a renter is coming straight from their parents’ house or a dorm, you may have to explain what basic maintenance is. Your tenants are responsible for changing out light bulbs and mowing the lawn, but not fixing leaky faucets or repairing broken fences.
While explaining what their maintenance responsibilities are, it is important to make sure your tenants also know how to submit a maintenance request.
Your first-time tenants may not think they own a lot, but once they tally up their clothes, electronics, and furniture, renter’s insurance will seem like a great deal. It’s also important to tell them that the insurance also covers the building itself in case of accident.
While some tenants may be hesitant to get renter’s insurance—or think that your landlord insurance will cover them, be sure to let them know it’s in their best interest to get it. It’s typically $12-24 a month depending on the neighborhood and how much they want to have covered. Read more on renter’s insurance here.
It’s possible that your first-time renter has never needed to forward their mail before. Help them “adult” by giving them a change of address checklist like this one. While this is not something you have to do, it can help you out in the long run. If they take a long time to forward their mail in their first rental, they might do the same for their next. Which means that you’ll be receiving their mail long after they’ve moved out.
Introducing a tenant to the community is imperative for renter retention. It also helps your tenant feel more comfortable in their new home. Let them know about the neighborhood and tell them about any community events that are coming up. You may even be able to find an information packet at city hall or the Chamber of Commerce.
For more ideas on how to welcome new residents, read here.