Tenant Retention: What Makes a Good Tenant?

Written By: on December 13, 2020

At McSherry Property Management, we bring decades of experience to the forefront of making both property owners/landlords and tenants happy and comfortable. Part of the process of making sure that we don’t run into many conflicts is finding the best tenants for commercial spaces and residential vacancies.

We manage properties in Northeastern Philadelphia, Eastern Montgomery, Lower Bucks, Jenkintown, and the surrounding areas. It is of utmost importance that the great reputation of the properties we manage matches the best tenants.

It Starts with the Screening Process

The screening process is central to finding good tenants. First, we require proof of income by asking for the two most recent paystubs. A qualified tenant makes at least three times the amount of rent in gross pay.

We also ask for two months’ worth of bank statements. What we’re looking for in bank statements are red flags like bank overdrafts. Having no overdrafts is a good sign that the potential tenant has good handling of their finances.

Next in line is running a background and credit check. The tenant must have a good credit rating. Everything must be in order, and their credit must be in good standing. If a potential tenant has filed for bankruptcy previously, they will be disqualified.

Previous foreclosures and evictions will disqualify a person from renting any small business office space for rent, restaurant property for lease, or luxury apartments. A person’s financial standing is at the core of what makes an ideal tenant. Of course, we know that’s not the entire picture, but finances are an excellent indicator of what is to come.

Matching Quality Homes with Good Tenants

McSherry Property Management specializes in providing quality homes to our tenants. We set high standards for the conditions of the properties that we rent to tenants. We also charge established market rental rates to benefit both the landlord and our hardworking tenants. We are also highly responsive to our tenants, and our repair and maintenance services are unmatched.

What if a tenant is late?

If a tenant is late, we charge late fees, encourage early payments, and make sure that we have a mutual understanding of timely payments. We also provide a very reasonable five-day grace period for our rental payments. If we still haven’t received payment on the sixth day or if the tenant has still not contacted us, we begin contacting the tenant via email and text messages to discuss the current delinquency situation with the payments.

Follow-ups are conducted continually until the situation is resolved. We work closely with tenants because we want to maintain an excellent relationship with all our tenants. If the tenant is late, we immediately shift to high gear to develop a reasonable payment plan.

We know that life happens, and temporary financial difficulties can arise from nowhere. Being in the business for fifty years, we know (more than anyone else) how to work with the realities of our tenants’ lives. This is one of the hallmarks of humane and community-centered property management.

In fact, in 2018, we only had one eviction out of a total of 450 rental properties.

In 2020 when COVID struck the world, we responded immediately to the situation.

Contrary to what many would imagine being a very dire situation, our compliance rate for payments was ideal and high, and only a few tenants were late with their payments. Those who struggled with rental payments were welcomed with open arms as long as they showed the willingness to pay their rent. As we mentioned earlier, we can develop realistic payment plants not to burden our tenants any more than we need to.

Additional Factors That Make a Good Tenant

Absence of Criminal History

Property management firms often perform background checks to check if the tenant has a previous criminal history. With just the tenant’s name and his birthdate, this can be checked. Tenant screening can be done nationally or locally, depending on the policy of the company. City and state criminal databases are open for perusal, and the information that may be revealed is vital for approving or disqualifying tenants.


A person’s rental history is an indicator of their general stability in life. If a person has a rental history that shows that he jumps from one rental property to another, it’s an indicator that he might not have stable finances or stable life, for that matter. Moving several times is an indicator that a person may be encountering dire financial or personal issues.

Good Interpersonal Relations

A good tenant will be most willing to work with the property management company tasked with collecting rental payments and performing repairs when needed. A person’s respectfulness to the processes is also a factor that shows whether or not a person is an ideal tenant or not.


This doesn’t appear in any agreements or contracts, but honesty is probably the second most important factor in establishing a harmonious relationship with a tenant. Individuals who lie about their employment status, rental history, and other important aspects of their lives may have trouble working with reputable property management companies in Philadelphia and surrounding areas.


Once a tenant moves in, the property management firm, tasked with keeping the place clean, would appreciate that the tenant follows all the rules and doesn’t do things that would eventually lead to the breakdown of the rental property

Being Accommodating

A good tenant who follows all the rules and is also taking care of the property will be cooperative and accommodating, especially when the property is due for an inspection by a property inspector. Non-compliance with property inspectors from the property management company will be a problem not only in the short term, but in the long term as well.

Compliance with the Tenancy Agreement

Every tenant should always be mindful of the tenancy agreement that he has signed at all times.



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