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Tips for screening commercial and residential tenants

Don’t fall into a trap by taking the first tenant that comes along. Proper screening doesn’t guarantee that you won’t have problems with a tenant, but it lowers the chances.


I heard on the news about a landlord who had rented an apartment to a tenant who then claimed to be a Freeman on the Land. (I’m not even sure what that is.) He THEN declared that the premises were his EMBASSY and that he had no intention of paying rent. This NON PAYING tenant then undertook renovations on the property and put a lien on the landlord’s premises.

This example underscores the importance of tenant selection for both commercial and residential properties. Proper screening won’t guarantee that you won’t have problems with a tenant, but it will definitely reduce your chances.

Don’t fall into the trap that many landlords fall into by taking the first tenant that comes along. Even in this difficult climate of trying to find a tenant, it pays dividends to do due diligence.

For Commercial Tenants

  • Perform a corporate search. Is the company a BC registered company or is it based offshore?
  • Perform a credit check to determine financial viability of the business. You don’t want to pay a big leasing commission just to have the tenant fail in the next month.
  • Does the tenant have a business plan?
  • If the tenant is a franchise – who will be on the lease? The franchisor or the franchisee…? This can have serious ramifications in the event of a default.
  • Does the tenant have an existing business or other business experience or is this their first foray as an entrepreneur?
  • What is the nature of the tenant’s business? Is it likely to damage the reputation of your property? Is it a clean business such as an office or a dirty business where there may be a lot of garbage or pollution?

For Residential Tenants

  • What is the history of the rent payments?
  • Do they have pets and are you okay with that?
  • Why are they leaving their existing premises?
  • Get a reference check from their existing landlord and confirm their employment.
  • Your property manager should be adequately screening tenants on your behalf. Consider asking your management company the process that THEY use when interviewing prospective tenants.

By following these tips you will reduce your chances of getting a tenant that you REALLY don’t want.

If you have questions about property management please email me at info@transpacificrealty.com.

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