Chicago Property Management Blog

Why Should Landlords Consider Renting to First-Time Tenants?

Why Should Landlords Consider Renting to First-Time Tenants?

As an investor or landlord, you may be evaluating the benefits of accepting first-time renters. Renting out a property can be both a lucrative and challenging endeavor for landlords. One common topic of discussion is whether it's worth taking a chance on first-time renters. While experienced tenants may seem like the safer option, there are reasons why landlords should consider giving first-time renters a shot. In this blog post, we will explore some of the key reasons why you should take a risk with first-time renters. 

The Advantages of Renting to First-Time Tenants: A Lucrative Opportunity for Investors and Landlords

1. Responsibility and Eagerness

First-time renters approach renting an apartment or home with enthusiasm and a strong sense of responsibility. They are eager to prove themselves as trustworthy tenants and demonstrate their eagerness through better care of the property and timely rent payments for your rental property. Their enthusiasm fosters a cooperative relationship with the landlord, making them excellent tenants. In their quest for a first apartment or first rental home, first-time renters consider various factors such as rental rates, apartment complexes, and the rental market. They understand the importance of saving money and budgeting for upfront costs like the security deposit, rental application fees, and one month's rent payment. They also take into account recurring costs such as monthly rent increases, utility bills, parking fees, and HOA fees. First-time renters recognize that they are legally and financially responsible for the rental property, including potential property damage caused during their tenancy. To secure a rental, they may need to provide documentation such as their credit history, employment history, and references from any previous landlords. They also familiarize themselves with the terms of the rental agreement, including quiet hours, parking rules, and the landlord's contact information. Overall, new renters approach renting with responsibility and an eagerness to establish themselves as responsible tenants.

2. Willingness to Impress

First-time renters are aware that they lack a rental history, which motivates them to put their best foot forward. They are often highly motivated to impress their landlords and follow the lease agreement closely. These renters are more likely to meticulously follow the lease agreement, maintain the property well, and follow rules and regulations closely. Their desire to make an impression can contribute to a smoother rental experience for both parties involved.

3. Longer Tenure

First-time renters often view renting as a stepping stone to future homeownership. This means they might be more likely to stay for a longer period, as they work toward their goals. Longer tenures lead to decreased turnover rates, reducing the hassle and cost of finding new tenants frequently. This can save landlords time and money on finding new tenants, advertising, and preparing the property for new occupants. It also fosters stability in the property and the neighborhood. 

4. Positive Relationships, Flexibility, and Open Communication

Given their lack of experience, a first-time apartment renter or a first-time home renter is typically more open to negotiations and discussions. Since they are in need of renting an apartment or renting a home, they may be willing to collaborate with you on terms resulting in an advantageous arrangement. Moreover, their absence of notions about the process makes them more receptive to open communication, facilitating a positive landlord-tenant relationship.

5. Financial Benefits and Potential for Higher Rent in the Future

A first-time renter often prioritizes saving money, making them highly motivated to find affordable rental properties. By offering competitive rental rates, you can attract first-time renters who are eager to secure their own space without breaking the bank. Additionally, accepting the first month's rent upfront as a security deposit can provide financial security and safeguard against a potential missed rent payment or payments.

You might want to avoid collecting a security deposit in the city of Chicago

In the city of Chicago, it is advised that landlords refrain from taking security deposits. The city heavily favors tenants' rights, and there are specific regulations and restrictions surrounding security deposits. Here are a few reasons why landlords in Chicago should avoid taking security deposits:

  1. Compliance with Laws: Chicago has strict ordinances and regulations regarding security deposits. Landlords must provide a receipt for the deposit, keep it in an interest-bearing account, and pay interest set by the city. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in legal consequences.

  1. Tenant-Friendly Environment: Chicago's Rental Tenant and Landlord Ordinance (RLTO) prioritizes the protection of tenants' rights. This means that even minor errors or omissions related to security deposits can lead to legal action against landlords. It is crucial to understand and adhere to the provisions of the RLTO to avoid potential disputes.

  2. Alternatives to Security Deposits: Some landlords in Chicago have opted for alternatives to security deposits, such as move-in fees or non-refundable fees. These alternative approaches help eliminate the complexities and risks associated with managing security deposits while still providing landlords with financial protection.

  3. Interest Rates: The interest rates on security deposits in Chicago are very low, currently at 0.01%. Considering the minimal return on investment, landlords may find it more advantageous to explore alternative methods of securing their rental units.

  4. Risk of Non-Compliance: Many landlords may unknowingly violate Chicago's ordinances when handling security deposits. This includes failure to hold the deposit in an interest-accruing account or not returning the deposit within the required timeline. Violations can result in substantial penalties and potential legal disputes.

In addition to this, if you provide a positive rental experience for first-time apartment renters or first-time home renters, they are more likely to remember you as a reliable and understanding landlord. As their financial situation improves, they might be willing to pay rent in higher increments to continue living in a property that has already proven to be a comfortable and suitable home for them.

6. The Opportunity for Growth:

Renting to first-time tenants can be seen as an investment in the future. By giving them a chance, you're contributing to the growth of responsible renters who will eventually become experienced tenants proving they can pay their monthly rent. First-time tenants have the chance to learn essential life skills, such as budgeting, maintaining a rental agreement, and being accountable for their responsibilities. Landlords who take on the task of guiding and supporting these individuals during their initial renting experience contribute to their personal growth and success. This not only helps a first-time renter on a future rental application, but it also helps in expanding the pool of reliable renters in the long run.

7. Creating Positive Reviews and Referrals:

Creating positive reviews and referrals is a powerful tool for landlords to attract new tenants and enhance the reputation of their rental property. When first-time renters have a positive experience, they are more likely to share their satisfaction with friends, family, and acquaintances. Word-of-mouth promotion can be incredibly influential, as people trust recommendations from those they know. By providing excellent service, maintaining a well-kept property, and addressing tenant needs promptly, landlords can cultivate a positive reputation that spreads organically through these personal referrals.

In addition to word-of-mouth, positive online reviews have become increasingly important in the digital age. Potential tenants often rely on online platforms, such as review websites or social media, to gather information about rental properties. When first-time renters post positive reviews about their experience, it can significantly impact the perception of the property and attract a larger pool of interested tenants.

To encourage positive reviews and referrals, landlords should prioritize tenant satisfaction by ensuring clear communication, responding promptly to maintenance requests, and addressing any concerns or issues that may arise during the tenancy. Going above and beyond to exceed tenant expectations can leave a lasting impression and increase the likelihood of positive feedback.

It is also beneficial for landlords to actively engage with tenants and request their feedback. This can be done through surveys, follow-up emails, or even in-person conversations. By actively seeking input, landlords demonstrate their commitment to providing exceptional service and show that tenant satisfaction is a priority.

8. Lower Risk with Proper Screening:

While taking a risk with a first-time renter can be rewarding, it's important to remember that proper tenant screening is essential. While some landlords may have concerns about a first-time renter's potential low credit score before a credit check or potential property damage, conducting thorough screening processes can mitigate risks. Screening tenants includes evaluating their credit check, employment history, criminal history, and references from previous landlords. This process helps ensure that first-time renters possess the necessary financial and responsible qualities to maintain a rental agreement successfully. Working with property management companies can alleviate the stress of managing rental properties. These companies handle tenant screening, lease agreements, and rent collection, allowing investors and landlords to focus on other aspects of their real estate portfolio. Property management companies also have experience navigating the rental market, ensuring that rental properties are occupied by responsible and reliable first-time renters.

9.Building a Diverse Rental Portfolio

Renting to first-time tenants diversifies your rental portfolio. As the rental market continues to evolve, catering to the needs and preferences of a first-time apartment renter or home renter can help you tap into a new demographic of tenants. By offering well-maintained apartments in apartment complexes with amenities such as fitness centers, laundry facilities, and business centers, you can attract first-time tenants who value convenience and a desirable living environment.


While the idea of renting to first-time renters might seem daunting, it's important to recognize the potential benefits that can come from taking this risk. Their enthusiasm, willingness to impress, longer tenures, and potential for growth can all contribute to a positive rental experience for both parties involved. 

Remember, proper tenant screening, clear lease terms, and transparent communication are essential to create a harmonious landlord-tenant dynamic. By embracing the opportunities that first-time renters bring, investors and landlords can unlock new streams of income and build a strong and diverse rental portfolio.

By providing a nurturing environment for responsible first-time renters, you not only secure reliable tenants but also contribute to the overall growth of the rental market. So, the next time you're considering tenants for your property, don't dismiss the possibility of taking a risk with first-time renters. It could turn out to be a decision that benefits you in the long run.

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