Each of us has heard or read about tenants who didn´t pay, didn´t move out voluntarily and left the apartment devastated. In such a case, the damage amounts to at least tens of thousands CZK. That’s a dang important reason why we should be able to choose the right tenant. That means the one who will pay the rent regularly, take care of the property and won´t have conflicts with neighbours. You might say that it´s enough to have a good rental agreement. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The tenancy is regulated in detail by the Civil Code and rental agreements must be governed by it. The most important provisions of the Civil Code favour the tenant and the landlord has no chance to do anything about it. I´ll give just one example for all. The landlord can´t give notice to the tenant due to non-payment until the tenant owes minimally 3 monthly rents and advance payments for utilities, then the tenant has another 30 days to hand over the property and if they don´t, it is necessary to ask the court for permission to evict the tenant which means at least six more months of work plus lawyer´s fees. That is why the choice of tenant is so crucial and we´ll now explain how to recognize the ideal one. There are a total of 5 features that I recommend examining:
Of all the features of an ideal tenant, this one is the most subjective. We each judge the other person a little differently and notice different characteristics. All the same, I´ll try to describe here the universal features of how a solid candidate acts.
It all starts with the first contact when responding to an ad, whether it´s sending an email or a phone call. In the case of email communication, a good sign is the address at the beginning of the message: “Dear Mr/Ms So-and-So”, or, possibly, “Dear Sir….” or “Dear Madam…” In the following text where the person usually asks to see the property or wants more information, there is no punctuation missing, no typos or spelling mistakes. At the end of the text the potential tenant thanks and signs off with their full name and leaves contact information. Another positive sign is that their email address copies their name, e.g. “daniel.kotula”. Contrary to this, an adolescent nickname such as firstname.lastname@example.org or unrelated cluster of letters and numbers such as email@example.com are inappropriate.
During the phone call take note of things like the ones mentioned above. The conversation should be polite and a solid candidate will introduce themselves first. They give the reason for the call and ask about details related to the property or they want to arrange a tour right away. The reliability of the potential tenant can be recognized also by the fact that they don´t call at unsuitable time, such as at the weekend or very early in the morning or, on the contrary, late in the evening. At such time, they will send an email or text you.
Be careful if the person interested wants to make a deal on the fees and deposit during the very first contact. If they ask about possible reduction in fees or deposit, it means that they are on a tight budget and if something unexpected comes up, they´ll fall behind with payments of the rent.
A strong warning signal is the need to move in quickly. Here it is probable that the potential tenant is running away from a problem or that they have found themselves in a difficult situation. Alternatively, they are real bad payers, threatened by the owner, who want to leave the property as soon as possible to avoid an escalating conflict. Solid people interested in renting, on the other hand, plan to move in the rented property in advance – at least 14 days up to a month ahead.
Notice this type of conduct with potential tenants, and in some time you´ll be so proficient in recognizing solid candidates during the first contact that you´ll arrange a tour only with those who you won´t waste your time with.
At the tour itself, we assess other features of those interested. The first is punctuality. Solid candidates usually arrive on time or even early. If they expect a delay, they will let you know in advance. They won´t certainly call or text 5 minutes after the tour starts that they´ll have another 10 minutes delay or even that they won’t arrive at all! In this case, you can expect a similar scenario when paying the rent.
You will surely think too that a solid candidate should be neat and decently dressed. Don’t be fooled though by a good first impression. I experienced very good-looking candidates who proved to be problematic in the next steps of the verification, and the same is true to the contrary. One record holder even had 34 executions, yet he looked like a well-off and successful businessman. What is imperative is not to get caught off-balance by a polished look and, also, not to get discouraged by a not very representative appearance. In other words, a proud driver of a premium German car can be broke and stuck in debt, while a craftsman with a well above average income can arrive in a not so new van, dressed in overalls. Therefore, it is better to focus on the fact that the appearance of the potential tenant is in line with other questions during their verification.
A very good sign of reliability is not to say more than you have to. During the tour, I talk with the potential tenants to get to know them better and get all the information about them for a quality assessment. For this purpose, I developed a „5-step review“, where I write down 14 evaluation criteria. Solid candidates usually give brief answers and to the point. On the other hand, problem candidates often like to reveal more about themselves and try to show themselves in a better light. To put it simply, they like to show off. People always talk about things that bother them. And they talk about them even if you don’t ask them. When they talk about money, they have money related problems.
If the reasons for moving speak of thoughtful consideration and thorough planning, it is a candidate who has a stable and well organized life. In such a case, it is also likely that they have calculated their intention well, have sufficient income to pay the rent and have their expenses under control. It is also probable that they will stay in the rented place for a longer period of time because a stabilized person also requires a stable background and plans their steps so that they wouldn´t have to move somewhere else soon.
Here we prefer those who are looking for a place to rent for positive reasons
On the contrary, let’s pay attention to those who are looking for housing for negative reasons:
The sign of a quality potential tenant is the same long-term profession and qualification. This again shows personal stability, which should be reflected in the stability of staying in the rented place for a longer period of time without complications. Conversely, candidates who change jobs on a regular basis every year or even change professions across various areas show high risk. The same also holds true for high-risk occupations where a regular income is not guaranteed, such as start-up owners or some self-employed people.
Although I don´t want to disadvantage anyone by including their profession, there are professions where experience shows a higher probability of problem tenants. These professions include: hospitality sector, drivers, unskilled workers and ever-beginning entrepreneurs. On the other hand, I believe that there are decent and problematic individuals in every profession, so always keep in mind the overall assessment of the candidate.
Finally, always use your common sense in relation to the profession and try to roughly assess the candidate´s income and expenses. If you require a rent of 14 thousand and the fees for utilities are about 2 thousand, it is probable that somebody just starting at an administrative position can´t afford it. Even though the starting salary may be around 30 thousand, the person will only get 22 thousand after tax. Unfortunately, to live these days on a budget of 6 thousand for food, clothes, leisure activities, internet and flat rate phone fee is literally living from hand to mouth. In such a case, it is enough for the refrigerator to break down or another unexpected expense to come up and the tenant will fall behind with rent payments.
If our potential tenant already lives in a rented place, they will almost certainly behave in the rental relationship with us in the same way as in the current rented place. That is why we should find out two important things that will quickly reveal who we are honoured to have. The first thing is the length of the candidate´s stay in the current rented place. In the case of a short rental period (1 year or less), this often means that not everything was completely all right and I recommend focusing on it. If the candidate is leaving a place where they have lived for many years, it is obvious, on the contrary, that we will also find a reliable tenant in such a candidate.
The second important thing is to ask for the contact of the existing landlord. Thanks to this, we can verify what the rental relationship with the candidate was like and whether the tenant is suitable. The prospective candidate is willing and able to provide the contact immediately and doesn´t make any obstructions. The problem candidate is evasive and avoids the answer. As a rule, they don´t have the contact with them or they will provide a number that nobody can answer, stating that the landlord is currently on holiday. An angry reaction is also typical: “How dare you? Do you want to check on me or what?!?” There is no need to add details. In conclusion, remember that a decent candidate has nothing to hide.
If the candidate still looks like a suitable adept after previous questions and also shows interest in the property, it is imperative to check them in registers of debtors. All we have to do is to find out their name and date of birth. Here, too, some candidates drop out because they are aware of their entry in the register. The most accurate and affordable legal system is Sokordia iSpis at https://ispis.cz/lustrace, where the system will check the following registers for only 32 CZK when paying by card.
Central register of executions
This is a list of executions of physical or legal entities, which is maintained, operated and administered by the Executors‘ Chamber of the Czech Republic. To put it simply, we obtain information from this register about each execution that has taken place or is taking place. If the candidate has even a single negative record, don´t rent the property to them, even if they had several mitigating explanations for it. Repeated experience has confirmed to me that it is necessary to be uncompromising in this regard, although it can sometimes be unpleasant both for us and the candidate.
ISIR – insolvency register
This is an insolvency register, where entities in insolvency proceedings are recorded. If someone has been filed for insolvency or is in the process of bankruptcy discharge, we can find them here. Again, in such a case it isn´t possible to enter into an agreement with a candidate who has a record here. There is perhaps no need to elaborate on the reasons.
ČUZK Register (Czech Cadastre Office)
In this register you can find out information about whether our potential tenant owns a property. If they own the property and this property is free of debts, we can sign a rental agreement without worrying much. In the event of non-fulfilment of obligations by the tenant, we can secure our receivable with the property in question during the execution proceedings.
Although this check is not strictly necessary, it can help us quite often to verify whether the information provided by the candidate is true. Nowadays, perhaps everybody uses the Internet and by entering their name or email or phone, you can find out additional information. The most information can usually be found in profiles on social networks, where we can find out how the candidate lives and what friends or interests they have. On the LinkedIn network, it is possible to verify a professional CV, studies, interests, etc. This check on the Internet will thus complete the overall picture of the candidate and will also help us to verify the information provided by them.