First time Renters – Risk or Opportunity?

When faced with the prospect of letting first time renters into their properties, many property owners feel a sense of apprehension.

This is somewhat understandable. When people hear the phrase ‘first time renter’, they often think of a group of high school graduates looking for a party house – free from the governance of parental figures. Yes, the young party animals are out there, but so are the mid 20s couples who have been saving to move out of their parents homes; or the families who have sold their first home and are looking to rent until they find their next property. Due to a lack of rental history, many first time renters experience difficulty in finding a home, especially if they’re young and fresh out of school. We’ve been coaxed into thinking that renting our properties out to these groups of people is risky and will likely result in damage to your home.

This is often far from the truth.

Renting your property to a first time renter is akin to offering a job to someone who has never been employed. They may not have any formal experience, but they are often willing and eager to learn. As renting is a new experience to them, many will be overly cautious in looking after the property and paying their rent on time. Most will try to do the right thing as they want to create a good reference for when they need to move again.

Another thing to consider is that, like a new employee, first time renters will not yet have had the chance to develop bad habits, which any property manager will tell you are difficult to break. When first time renters are introduced to renting by a responsible and knowledgeable property manager, they often develop good renting habits early. No matter how fresh to renting an applicant may be, they are subject to the same screening process as anyone else. They definitely don’t get a ‘free pass’ because they’re young and have no rental history. In these cases, we look for other indicators of stability and responsibility, such as a stable work history. If we can obtain a positive employer reference, this improves their chances of qualifying, even without a rental reference.

It can also be helpful if a young applicant agrees to have their parent or guardian add their name to the lease. This can provide some peace of mind to an owner who is a little apprehensive. Once a first-time renter is approved, we implement a 6-month probationary period (think of it like ‘P-plates’ for a new driver). This gives the tenant the opportunity to prove themselves, and if all goes well, the owner can feel confident to offer a lease renewal. So the next time you’re presented with an application from a first time renter, take a moment before making a decision. Our property managers will tell you that first time renters are some of the best tenants they’ve ever had.

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