My First Vacant Unit

8 Replies

I am about to experience my first vacancy and would like any feedback/input from anyone experienced. I live in a tenant friendly state(Oregon) and the application process makes me nervous when it comes to potentially denying applicants.

Any advice from those that have gone through similar situations I'd love to hear more. The last thing I'd want to go through is a discrimination lawsuit. Thanks in advance!

Advertise everywhere, hold an open house. Run background checks. Pick best applicant. keep your paperwork to show you picked best applicant. Don't discriminate. You'll be fine.

When you turn people down tell them you had another more qualified applicant. They should understand.

While I am not familiar with the laws in Oregon, I can give you some great advice that I have gotten on the forum (I recently posted a similar thread), and read countless times here during my research.

Set your criteria and stick to it and make them known to the people beforehand to weed them out.  Give out rental applications to anyone that is interested and always charge a fee to process them, I have found this is a great way to get rid of tire kickers.  Process the COMPLETED applications as you receive them and accept the first qualified person based on the criteria you originally set.  Keep a record of every tenant you screen as you may need to refer back as to why they were denied.  It all comes down to treating every potential tenant the same way.

I told all of my interested applicants the same things: There will be a background and credit check for each person over 18, the application is $35 to process for each person, must be filled out completely, I will be calling current employer and current and previous landlords, must make 3x rent in monthly income, credit score must be favorable, no evictions, no criminal history.  I had over 50 interested people, probably gave out about 9 applications, and only 2 parties actually went all the way and completed the screening process.

Vacancy provides a good time to review your property and see if you are in line with rentals in your area. Price your rental appropriately.I use Zillow to advertise. Write down the requirements for applying or what I normally tell prospects is; here is my rental process-an item list of what you require. This way you are giving the same requirements to all application. If you can not do the background check ask someone to do it for; lots of companies will do this for you and that process is covered by the application fee you charge. Here is the golden tidbit; ask for a credit score and determine what you are accepting or not, in addition to all the other requirements. 

I think Brett was right on the money with his comment above.  Clearly defined criteria, and accepting the first applicant to meet that criteria is the best way.

Completely up to you, but I'd also recommend using a software system to help you advertise and screen applicants. Cozy and turbotenant are popular and frequently recommended systems that are free for the landlord.

Best of luck!