Owners and operators of rental properties must keep up to date on news about renters across the country. Because of the pandemic, about 10 million people, or 18% of renters in the US, were delinquent in their rent payments at the start of the year. The average delinquency was four months behind or $5,600, with a total of $57.3 billion.
This can be a concern for landlords in general but there is good news for owners and operators of multiple attached townhouses. Data shows that renters looking for new spaces are now turning away from high-density condominiums and apartment buildings, and are instead veering toward low-density single-family homes. This is also to keep them safer from Covid-19.
Your multiple attached townhouses fit the bill as single-family homes that have enough separation from neighbors. You must make sure, however, that you attract and sign-up top-quality tenants who have the financial capability to pay their monthly rent with much to spare.
What High-end Tenants Want
If you are targeting wealthy tenants, these are also the ones who can afford to buy a house and probably already have one. They can be renting for convenience, such as to be near a short-term work-related or business-related opportunity in your area. They know what they need and want in a living space and you must live up to their expectations or even exceed them.
If your townhouses are new, then you are in luck because people are willing to pay a premium to be the first to live in a pristine environment. If not, then you must renovate and refurbish them to be like new. Each prospective tenant must see a clean slate.
Your design aesthetic for the whole house, inside and out, must be classy. Hire a professional consultant to help you present everything in the best way possible, from your choice of paint colors to kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom fixtures. Landscape and regularly maintain the lawn and garden if any.
Include amenities that well-off people need, like having high-end appliances in the kitchen and laundry. Fast and stable Wi-Fi service, with quick-acting support, is now considered a basic need.
Consider installing electric vehicle charging stations to prepare for tenants who own electric or hybrid vehicles. This is something that not many rentals have and will immediately give you an edge. Sales of electric vehicles rose to 2.5% in the US this year from 1.9% in 2020.
Always have someone ready to respond to their calls and ensure timely action on their needs.
Screen with Due Diligence
You must know all the laws covering housing rentals so that you can avoid lawsuits for discrimination by applicants that you turn down.
The Federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Fair Housing Act state that you must not discriminate against tenants because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, disability, and sexual orientation or gender identity.
Even if you do not intend to do so, you can get sued for any of these if you do not protect yourself with proper documentation in the application process.
You must require all prospective tenants to fill up a rental application where you ask for the main applicant’s name, social security number, current address, current employer, proof of income, credit card information, personal references, bank accounts, vehicle information, names and ages of adults and children who will be living in the rental, and any pets. You must also ask for a list of previous addresses and length of stay at each one, previous employers and length of employment at each one, and emergency numbers. If there is more than one adult who will be living on the property, ask for the same detailed information for each one, as well.
Once the applicant has signed the application, you have the right to do a thorough verification of all the information provided. You must do additional checks on information that is in the public domain, such as any criminal convictions or bankruptcies. You can hire a professional screening service to do the work for you.
Keep all application forms and the results of verification so that you have proof of why you chose a certain tenant over others. It is your right to choose the tenant who shows the best ability to pay rent.
Offer the Best to Attract the Best
To make top-quality tenants choose to rent your townhouses, you simply must offer them the best. Prepare and maintain your units meticulously, and stage them professionally, making sure to highlight details that will make you stand out from other rental properties.
The other end of the equation is to select your tenants wisely by doing a thorough background inspection, with nothing left unchecked. If you do all these correctly, you can be among the landlords who are thriving amid the chaos of the coronavirus pandemic.