What are the Qualities That Define Good Tenants?

What are the Qualities That Define Good Tenants?
by Jerome Foster - October 19, 2021

Finding the ideal tenant can be a long and frustrating process. Get the wrong one, and you will probably be trapped in a lengthy contract with someone completely incompatible with you and your property.

Talking to real estate experts, we gathered here all the qualities you need to look out for when considering potential tenants. These qualities define the ideal tenant;

Colby Hager, the Owner of Capstone Homebuyers; buying, renovating, and renting or selling houses across Texas. According to Colby...

One of the best qualities of a good tenant is good communication. The reason this is such an important but often overlooked quality is because when the tenant is great at communication, maintenance issues won't go unnoticed, they typically take better care of the property, and if any issues arise, you are aware right away. 

As an investor, I want to know about issues with the property or any other issues my tenant may be facing so that I can be proactive in assisting right away. This leads to better upkeep for my property and less turnover with my tenants. 

Nick Habre; the Owner and Blogger at Your Coffee & Tea Essentials, is a mortgage broker and landlord of multiple properties with over ten years of experience. According to Nick...

Besides the obvious, like paying rent on time and not being a criminal, one of the most important qualities tenants could have is loving the place where they live. This means treating the property as if it were their own. This is important because when someone loves where they live, they will make sure to keep it clean and well maintained. 

Further, if repairs are required, they would promptly advise the landlord and not sit on a problem until it becomes a disaster. This goes, of course, both ways; the landlord needs to show as well that he or she cares about the property - if an issue comes up, the landlord should act promptly.

Admittedly, it is difficult to identify these types of tenants during the selection process. However, there are some observations and questions the landlord could make or ask. For example, a student is likely a short-term rental, and therefore a student is unlikely to care much about your place. 

However, a young family with kids is likely to stay for a  longer time and more likely to keep the property clean and well maintained. A dirty or poorly maintained property would impact their children. 

One question that I like to ask is if they have plans to decorate the home or if they have any projects for the backyard. The intent of these questions is to try to get an idea of what's going on in the tenants' heads and whether they see my property as a temporary thing or a long-term home where their children will grow up. 

My tenants all love where they live, and as a result, they take really good care of their homes. This minimizes the property upkeep costs. Plus, a happy tenant means a happy landlord!* 

Katherine Brown is the Founder and Marketing Director at Spyic. According to Katherine...

I consider Good tenants to possess the below-mentioned qualities:

  • Can pay rent on time: This is important as it ensures that the rent has been paid and the landlord does not have to worry about going after an errant tenant.
  • Cleaning abilities: Cleaning up the place is the responsibility of both tenants and landlords. A tenant who cannot clean up after themselves will only create more work for landlords.
  • Responsible: A Good tenant needs to be responsible because they are entrusted with the maintenance of apartment space, security, common areas, etc.
  • Self-sufficient: If a tenant is making their food, cooking, etc., in the apartment, it is beneficial to clean up after themselves.
  • Maintenance Issues: If the place has issues such as erratic power supply, lack of water supply, etc. The landlord will have to follow up with the service provider, which will involve extra effort and time on their part. Good tenants ensure that there is no need for such follow-ups.

Leonard Ang is the CEO of iPropertyManagement. According to Leonard...

It is a myth that the best tenants are the quietest tenants. It can be relieving for some landlords when their tenant does not contact them with unexpected maintenance calls or other issues, but this can also mean issues that are swept under the carpet turn into long-term problems for the landlord to solve. 

You want your tenants to be responsible and timely in their requests and communication methods. A good tenant should be patient because being a landlord is hard work. A good tenant should pay their rent on time and in full every time it is due.

Lynda Fairly is the Co-Founder of Numlooker. According to Lynda...

A responsible person is someone who pays their bills on time, doesn't cause damage to the property, and keeps up with maintenance issues. A responsible tenant should have enough income that ensures that they will likely pay rent every month. 

If you have been renting out a property for some time, it is important to have a security deposit. Without it, the landlord stands to lose money from late rent payments and damages to the property, as well as potential lawsuits from tenants who do not pay their rent. A good tenant will also be careful not to damage the apartment, make noise late at night, and keep the apartment clean and tidy.

As you would imagine, knowing how to make an apartment or rental property appealing before renting it is crucial. A good tenant will be meticulous in their application, so if you are looking to rent to responsible people, it is important to take time with your applications. 

The application should be thorough enough that it looks for red flags up front. If not, chances are the applicant will move into the property and then fall behind on rent payments or cause damage.

A good tenant is also aware that by paying their rent on time, they are not only maintaining a good relationship with their landlord but also strengthening it over time.

Preston Seo is a Personal Finance Influencer; Legacy Investing Show LLC. According to Preston...

Having managed 100s of tenants, these are the top things I look for in a good tenant. The first thing we look at is responsiveness. This is often overlooked but is imperative to our decision-making process. If they take multiple days to get back to you, that’s often a red flag as these types of tenants have almost always paid rent late. 

The second thing we look at is cleanliness. How can you tell if they will be clean? When showing your property, look at their car. If their car is a mess, that’s usually a telltale sign that’s how they will treat your property. 

Trustworthiness is also important. The way we verify this is by calling their previous landlords and employer. This is where they spend most of their time, and they will be able to tell you if they are trustworthy or not. Are they responsible? It’s incredibly important to run a background and credit check. 

These two factors will determine if it’s even worth pursuing the tenant further. We look for no evictions, no criminal history, and at least a 600 credit score as our baselines. If they can manage their credit score well, they are more than likely going to be a good tenant.


  • Jerome has worked for an international real estate magazine in the past before joining Prudentialcal. He now spearheads our team of writers and ensures the quality of content we produce weekly.

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