As a landlord or property manager, you know that tenant screening is an essential part of managing a rental property. Choosing the right tenant can be the difference between a successful tenancy and a nightmare. To help you out, here’s a list of ten essential tips for screening tenants.
An application fee gives potential tenants an incentive to provide accurate information on their application because they know they will lose money if they don’t. It also helps cover your costs associated with running background checks and other screening activities.
Conduct thorough background checks on all potential tenants to ensure you are not renting to someone with a criminal history or negative rental history. Make sure the information is up-to-date and accurate; otherwise, it won’t be helpful in making an informed decision about who to rent to.
A potential tenant’s credit history can tell you a lot about his or her financial stability, so it is important to check this information before deciding whether or not to rent to them. Make sure you understand how credit scores work and what factors could have had a negative impact on their score before making your decision.
Verifying employment means checking that the prospective tenant has the income necessary to pay rent on time every month. Speak directly with their employer (or former employer) rather than relying solely on written documentation in order to get the most accurate information possible.
Ask potential tenants for at least two references from past landlords or employers who can vouch for their character and behavior as a tenant (or employee). Be sure to follow up with these references; don’t just take their word for it!
Take advantage of social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn more about potential tenants’ lifestyles and interests (and even their finances). This can help you make an informed decision about whether or not they would be suitable tenants in your property. Just make sure that any information gathered through social media is relevant and legal before using it as part of your decision-making process.
Be aware of fair housing laws when selecting tenants; do not discriminate against any applicants based on race, gender, national origin, religion, disability status, family status, sexual orientation, age, etc., as this constitutes illegal discrimination under federal law.
Make sure all potential tenants are aware of your policies—especially those related to late payments or damages—before signing the lease agreement so there are no surprises down the line if things don’t go according to plan.
A security deposit helps protect landlords from damages caused by careless or irresponsible tenants; make sure all prospective tenants understand that this deposit may need to be paid upfront before moving into the property in order for them to become official renters.
Finally, make sure you have a backup plan in case your first choice falls through; it always pays off to have several options available so that you can choose the best one without delay.
Finding good tenants isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be impossible either! By following these ten essential tips for screening tenants, landlords and property managers can rest assured knowing they’re making educated decisions regarding who should live in their properties. With proper vetting processes in place, landlords can enjoy financial success while building healthy relationships with quality renters!