Open communication and getting to know your potential tenant before signing the lease, are the best actions you can take to prevent getting a horrible rental experience. When showing off your place to tenants or having a chat with them, don't forget to ask two very important questions and observe their answers.
In addition to the information that potential tenants are willing to share with you in the conversation, a wise move would be to make a background check at least for the few chosen ones. Making a background on them will confirm their capability to pay for the property. Tenant's salary should be at least 30 to 40 % bigger than the rent you are asking. It will also inform you about their living preferences and provide you an overview of their way of living. You can agree with them on making the background check beforehand. This way you will prevent damaging your relationship with the tenant by avoiding the surprise moment when the receive the request.
If your potential tenant has rented out properties before, feel free to ask for references. If they choose not to share that information and change the topic really fast, it is a sign for you, that something might not be right.
Another easy channel to get information about your future tenant is social media. Check out candidates Facebook and Instagram account before making the decision. There you can get a feeling about their lifestyle. If you have common friends consider asking them for advice as well.
Take pictures of the apartment before you let your new tenant move in. This way you have proof about property's pre rental state and can show evidence, if there is an argument about repairs or broken stuff. Keep in mind to still be fair to the person renting out your place. Only charge the tenant when they are to blame. Some wearing and aging is normal and not tenant's to cover.
Before signing the rental agreement, be sure to consider several candidates. Establishing good communication and making sure the person is solvent, will save your nerves and money in the future. If you have made your decision, proceed to signing a lease with preparation.
Make sure that the contract covers all necessary aspects to avoid any disputes in the future. If pets and smokers are not allowed on your property, don't forget to state that in the contract as well. Include concrete actions that will apply when these rules are broken by the tenant. Add condition that apply when tenant is late with their payments. Make sure to add the moving out date to the lease. This will insure that the lease doesn't extend to five years and leave you in a tricky position. By the Estonian Dwelling Act, lease is fixed term contract that is valid for 5 years, if parties haven't agreed on any other date and added it to the contract. Adding the terms for deposit's use will make your life easier in the end of the rental relationship as well. Don't let the deposit be used for last rent payment. It is way easier to use the deposit for fixes and repairs, rather than trying to get money from the tenant after the last rent payment.
Be sure to visit your property in three months after handing over your keys. See how your property is used to have a peace of mind and build trust between you and your tenant.
Elamuseadus (01.07.1992). Riigi Teataja I. Used 25.09.2019, https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/22220?leiaKehtiv