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Don’t rent to them lah, my thoughts on potential tenants

Do you have a property that you want to rent out? Or are you thinking of how to rent out your ‘extra’ property? I always think renting out the unit for the very first time is scary. Come on, our property is at least a few hundred thousand Ringgit and we are renting it out to someone, usually a stranger who would be paying us just a few hundred or perhaps over a thousand ringgit? Here are some personal tips for your consideration, in choosing the right tenant. I say consideration because everyone would have their own way of choosing the tenant they like or filtering out potentially BAD ones. As long as it works, keep doing it. Do share here as well okay. I am still learning too. Oh yeah, the advice below is applicable more to someone renting out fully furnished. It’s my favourite way of renting out. 
1. Your Feeling. You do not have a good feeling about the potential tenant. Note, this is not like meeting your potential husband. This is JUST a tenant. If you don’t like, don’t rent. There is NO need to try to ‘give chance’ and evaluate before rejecting. Remember, ejecting them may be harder in future.
2. The Unrealistic Negotiator. After the viewing, they try their best to negotiate for a VERY much lower price by commenting that your home is not up to their expectations. Well, if not up to the expectations, it is great to view other cheaper units. For this type, I think they are just too calculative. Since I am not one, I would not rent out my unit to one.
3. The ‘Don’t Care’ type. Sorry but I really mind a lot about those who do not even take care of how they smell. Messy perhaps. Drunk the night before, perhaps. Did not wash their clothes? Perhaps. Whatever, does not matter. These are not my choice too. If they had just came from the gym, I think it’s best to shower and change before viewing.
4. The Secretive type. Come on, questions such as what do you do SHOULD be answered easily and directly. As the homeowner, I have no issues telling you what I do for a living but if you could not do the same, I think there’s something wrong with you. Yes, even if they tell they may be lying but chances are definitely lower to one who refuses to even tell.
5. The Threatening Type. They would not want to view unless you lower your rental. Fat chance, please try on others. I will never price myself out of the market for fully furnished but without even viewing you are already trying to negotiate lower? Just a note, fully furnished units mean they can move in just with their luggage…
6. The Missing in Action type. Hard to meet them. They ask their agents to be the middleman. It’s okay, just let them be. I prefer to meet my potential tenants before I say Yes. If it’s hard to meet them the first time, when you need to meet them in future, it would be almost impossible. Remember, at that time, you do not even have the agent to help you.
7. The Complaining Type. They are looking for a new place because their previous landlord was VERY BAD. It may be true,so asking them to explain why their landlord was bad may also reveal why their landlords were bad to them. Until today, I think my tenants’ relationships with me has been quite good. Somehow, all of them are successful! One is a corporate advisor (law grad), one bought a landed property in Penang island, one is a Marketing Manager, one is a Regional Manager and a few more.
8. The Foolish type. They came to view, knowing it is a fully furnished unit. Yet they ask if they could rent the unit without the furniture. If you say no, they would most probably say, how about lowering your rental. I would not negotiate at all. I would let them loose. I think they deserve a better landlord who would move the furniture out for them.
9. The Indirect one. Asking them how many people staying and they have to think for a while before answering. I am worried if they are going to sub-let my place and turn it into some crisis relief centre or a student ‘megamall’. Couples who are both working would be great.
10. The ‘Not-Enough-Money’ type. They asked if they can pay just one month advance and one month rental. The another month deposit, they want to pay later. This was a an actual issue for me and fortunately it was settled after a few months. I would not want to rent to these people ever again! Yes, it was not 100% okay even for me thus far.
Some other notes. Always sign a rental agreement. If they refuse, I also do not want them. A few hundred thousands worth of property from me versus just over a thousand ringgit rental from them every month, I think I stand to lose more. Always remember, renting to the wrong one is going to cost you lots of time, effort and money to move them out. There’s no guarantee that every tenant we have would be good people but we can try our best to reduce the possibilities. I have rented out mostly to working adults and once, students on internship for 8 months. For students, get their parents to be the one signing the agreement. All have ended well except for reason no. 10 above.  Please avoid these at all costs. Happy renting out fully furnished.
written on 18 Aug 2017
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Charles Tan The Founder The Writer Kopiandproperty
Charles Tan

Charles is Founder of He writes from his investment experience for the the past 20 years in investments including property, stock, unit trust and more as well as readings and conversations with many property gurus in the industry. is an independent property blog which is not affiliated to any media company, property developer or even real estate agencies.

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