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How to attract an A1 tenant from Day One

1st January 2016
Whereas a scruffy property attracts less-than-desirable tenants, a neat property is likely to attract neat tenants.

Whereas a scruffy property attracts less-than-desirable tenants, a neat property is likely to attract neat tenants.

The minute you start marketing your property for let, it’s like trying to attract the best applicant on merit.

Just like a job application, your property needs to have a ‘first-in, best-dressed’ mentality. That’s because your property is competing against other properties in the rental market for those A1 tenants, so your property needs to be appealing.

Let’s just explain what we mean by “your property needs to be appealing”: all this means is that your property must be clean and tidy. We’re not talking about uneconomic or over-the-top renovations.

Scruffy properties alienate A1 tenants

The reality of the situation is that if you market your property with holes in some of the walls, paint patches on the walls, mould-stained curtains, cigarette burns on the bathroom vanity, stained carpets, torn wallpaper, dirty oven, unclean toilet, crayon marks on bedroom walls, mouldy ceilings, broken gutter, over-grown lawns and weeds – your property is not going to appeal to A1 tenants.

The more of these defects that are present, the less of a chance you’ll have of ever finding that A1 tenant. And if you’ve been silly enough to put photos of a scruffy property on TradeMe, then you’ll never meet any good applicants.

Applicants will make a judgement call from the online photos, or when they do a drive-by of the property.

As you reduce the above defects list, you increase your chances of meeting more A1 tenants.

Tenants choose the quality level they’re comfortable maintaining

Your property will attract tenant applications that match the condition of the property they’re comfortable maintaining. So if the property is scruffy, the applicants will maintain the property in a scruffy condition. (These are not A1 tenants! Take on these tenants at your own risk…)

Conversely, tenants who appreciate high standards of cleanliness will expect to maintain those high standards during the tenancy.

What are the implications of having a scruffy property and tenants with low standards?

If you present a dirty, damaged, scruffy property you’re sending a message that you don’t care about the property – or about the tenants.

The only reason you are meeting any tenants is just to get the rent rolling in. I’m sure we all know some landlords like this; unfortunately they’re the ones who carry a dossier of bad war stories about damage and rent arrears. They’re often the people who say, “it’s only a renter!”

These landlords and Property managers are equally stupid if they go on to leave the property in such a poor condition for the start of the tenancy (i.e. the move-in date). That sends the strongest possible message to the new tenant that the landlord/Property Manager doesn’t care about the property or them.

(And it also means that the landlord isn’t complying with the Residential Tenancies Act; the legislation that stipulates that a property has to be provided as clean and tidy.)

You’ll never have a good relationship with the tenant in this scenario

If you let a scruffy property, the landlord or Property Manager is never going to enjoy a good working relationship with the tenant.

Would you expect the tenant to build a positive relationship with the landlord? Of course not.

Would you expect the tenant to respect the landlord and the property? Definitely not.


  • Dirty, scruffy properties attract scruffy tenants with low standards.
  • Such tenants will not respect the property, and therefore not the landlord either.
  • Presenting your property in a clean and tidy condition improves your chances of finding an A1 tenant.
  • Your property needs to be clean and tidy in the marketing photographs, as well as on the move-in date.



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