The pandemic of 2020 has caused many landlords to face difficult decisions with regard to tenants. While it was once possible to find tenants with good credit history, many tenants today are struggling with serious credit rating challenges. However, you can still find tenants who will take good care of your property.

Check Rental History

If a tenant has a poor credit rating, make sure you run a tenant criminal background check. Note the time and severity of the offense. For example, a record of drug possession that's more than three years old with a good probation history is a decent indicator that your tenant is working on building a better life. Repeated domestic abuse claims should be a red flag.

When reviewing the rental history and considering a lease, make sure you get information on all the adults considering moving into the house. If one partner doesn't want their credit run, don't forego the criminal background check. Follow your gut on this; there are couples who are forced to keep the bills in one person's name to get through a rough financial time.

Schedule Inspections

If you lower the bar on the credit check or go ahead and rent to someone with an eviction on their record, make sure you schedule a quarterly inspection to confirm the property is being well-cared for.

Give them time to tidy up. Try to schedule the inspection at a time that's convenient for them, such as around their work schedule. Review the terms of the lease, such as regarding pets, and keep an eye out for activities outside the terms of the lease. If there's no pet rider but they have a litterbox, you should take it back to the rental manager to boost the deposit and update the lease.

Be Willing to Consider Former Evictions

As we move through the pandemic as a country, there will be a lot of people who will have an eviction on their record because they just don't have the cash to cover their rent. However, if they are recently employed and are rebuilding their financial life, an eviction doesn't have to be a deal-breaker.

Again, rental history is key. Were they evicted for non-payment, or for destructive and disruptive behavior? Dangerous tenants that tear up your property have no place in one of your units, but tenants that have been through a rough financial patch may actually be a good choice as they will take care not to get evicted again.

Avoid Overcrowding

Don't allow more than two people per bedroom. You don't want multiple people moving in and out; this can bring a risk of bugs and other expensive problems.

Do let tenants know of the "guest" option; they are certainly allowed guests, but new roommates will need to be put on the lease for insurance purposes. If you notice multiple people moving in and out of the property, schedule more inspections.

Remember That You're Running a Business

It can be very tempting to want to help people out during these tough times. However, you're running a business, not a shelter. It is possible to find tenants who have good credit and no criminal history.

However, if you have a property that's sitting empty, you may be putting it at risk. Even a questionable tenant is better than the risk of theft, vandalism, or squatter damage. Stay smart, but be flexible.

Pay For Trash

If you don't cover utilities for your tenants, make absolutely certain that you cover trash for the property. Let the tenant know what day the canister will get emptied and that you plan to pay for trash for the terms of their lease.

If a tenant gets into financial trouble and they choose to save on bills by not paying trash, you can wind up with a garage or a basement full of garbage. Stand firm on this, and include it in your inspection.

The rental market is tricky right now, but most rental owners don't have to worry about having properties sitting open. That being said, finding renters who are likely to pay regularly can be worrying. Check their rental history for damage, always run a criminal background check, and be flexible on credit requirements.

Author's Bio: 

Katie earned a BA in English from WWU and loves to write. She also adores hiking in redwood forests and photography. She feels happiest around a campfire surrounded by friends and family.