7 Common Elements Tenants Seek Out in a Prospective Rental

by | BiggerPockets.com

Tenants come in all shapes and sizes. They have many differing wants, needs and desires. These wants, needs and desires will often translate into the type and location of properties they wish to live in, as what is important to one person may be of no concern to another. Plus, wants and needs are not static. They will change over time and will vary based upon socioeconomic and familial status. Despite this complexity, it is essential for a landlord to understand what is important to prospective tenants. It really can make the difference as to what you buy, how you fix it up and how you market it.

So what is important to a prospective tenant?

7 Common Elements Tenants Seek Out in a Prospective Rental


Your property should be fresh and clean. Not necessarily perfect, but clean. No one (well, almost no one) wants to live somewhere littered with trash and bugs, with unkempt landscaping and graffiti. First impressions are important, and the best tenants are going to stay away if your place is a mess.

Related: The True Cost of a Bad Tenant: Why You CAN’T Afford Not to Screen


In my experience, safety is a major issue, especially to single females. Everyone wants to feel safe in and around their homes. Safety could, of course, be attributed to location. Some locations are simply going to be safer than others, and there may be little the landlord can do about these situational problems.

But there is plenty you can do with your property. Tenant screening is the place to start. Weed out the bad eggs before they move in. Solid locks and security doors are also a big help, as are security systems and lots of lighting.


This is perhaps the most important word in all of real estate, but it will mean different things to different tenants. Some will want to be located near their job, others near their family. Some will want a particular neighborhood or access to transportation systems. Some may want to be near the trendy shops and restaurants. Others will want no part of that. Others will want to be in the city or out of the city, etc. These are all very different wants, and you need to understand where your property is and what locational benefits it offers to potential tenants so you can best market those benefits.

One locational item that many tenants are looking for is living near a particular…

A Good School District

Schools are so important I decided to give them their own category. Some tenants will be looking for a home in a particular school district because they want their children to go to that particular school. Schools can be so important that prospective tenants will be able to overlook many other problems with a property as long as it is in the right school district.

I know here in Memphis that properties located in what are perceived to be the better school districts command higher prices, and there are investors who focus specifically on finding properties in those districts. Understand how schools impact your local market.


Some tenants like quiet, especially those who have to get up in the morning to go earn the rent. More than once I have been asked if a property is quiet. This is something a landlord should keep in mind, especially with multi-unit properties, as noise complaints will drive you crazy.


These are things that make life a bit easier and more convenient. An amenity could be something as simple as ceiling fans, or it could be having a dishwasher or a washer and dryer located in the property. These amenities and others like them can make a huge difference to those looking to rent from you. Learn what is available in your market and up the ante a bit if you can.


It does not matter if you are a huge management company or a small mom and pop operation; tenants want to be treated professionally. They want to know that they will be respected and that their home will be maintained. They do not need the hassle of badgering you for repairs nor do they want you interfering too much in their lives. The landlord/tenant relationship is a professional one, and that is how you should present yourself.

Tenants wants, needs and desires can vary significantly, and it is just not possible to accommodate everyone all the time. But landlords should be aware of what factors are important to their prospective tenants. Some of these factors, such as school neighborhoods, are dependent on location and there is little the landlord can do about these factors except to be aware of them going in.

Related: 7 Types of Tenants Who Cause MAJOR Landlord Headaches

But many others are within the landlord’s power to control or at least affect. Items such as cleanliness and professionalism, which are so important in this business, offer you the chance to make a great first impression and pick up the best tenants first. Others, such as the amenities you choose for your properties, can give you an edge over your competition. And in this business, a slight edge can make a huge difference.

Tenants: What is important to you in a rental? Landlords: What wants and needs do you see at the top of your your tenants’ lists?  

Please share with your comments.

About Author

Kevin Perk

Kevin Perk is co-founder of Kevron Properties, LLC with his wife Terron and has been involved in real estate investing for 10 years. Kevin invests in and manages rental properties in Memphis, TN and is a past president and vice-president of the local REIA group, the Memphis Investors Group.


  1. Al Williamson

    Kevin, I like your list. I would place Safety as #1.

    In addition to tips you listed, I recommend we landlord continue to add clues that broadcast our dwelling is safe.
    1 – Night lighting can always be improved. Check out the temperature of your existing lights – If you have harsh daytime lighting, switch it out for a more amber – easier to see-in lighting.
    2 – Keep hiding places to a minimum. Block out nooks if you can.
    3 – Keep yard and street 100% litter free, Send a subliminal message to evil doers.

    Thanks for your article.

  2. Ayodeji Kuponiyi

    Great list Kevin. I believe investors/landlords should apply your 7 elements when searching for the next prospective property as well. After owning/managing my duplex for 2 years, the wants & needs I have for my tenants’ list are:

    2) Pay your Bill on Time
    3) Always Try to be Polite
    4) Tell the Truth
    5) Follow the Rules
    6) Treat my property & the individuals who do work for me with Respect
    7) Work with Me
    8) Respect your Neighbors
    9) Understand I Have a Lot Going On
    10) Hide your weed (I don’t condone or allow smoking weed or anything in my property however, I can’t monitor a tenant every second, minute, hour, day, etc. it’s against the lease but people will do it regardless. It’s just common sense & courtesy.
    3) follow the Rules

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