Screening potential tenants is an important part of running a successful rental property. As a landlord or property manager, developing a thorough and respectful process for tenant screening is essential, as this will ensure that only the most qualified applicants end up living in your rental units. This article shows you how to develop a tenant screening process to ensure you find only the best potential tenants for your rental properties.
Do Background Checks on Potential Tenants
Once you have your preliminary list of potential renters, it’s time to do a thorough background check. These can be done in different ways: by using different types of background checks, including credit reports, legal documents (like rental application/lease forms or pre-entry screening forms), public records, credit scores, and tenant screening reports. In addition, you can also go the social media route and check your potential renters’ Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Set Up an Interview with the Potential Tenants
The next step is to set up an interview with your top applicants. You should only interview those who follow all of your screening criteria, as this will save you a lot of time and minimize the risk of wasting your time interviewing the wrong candidates. During the interview, outline what you expect from a tenant and ask for a copy of their credit report, driver’s license, references, and proof of income (such as pay stubs). At the end of the interview, ask if you can tour the unit with them and have them meet any current tenants.
Ask for a Credit Report and Proof of Income
In addition to these documents, you should also ensure that they provide you with a copy of their credit report and proof of income, such as recent pay stubs or an alternative source of income. You should decline their application immediately if they don’t have a steady job or enough income to cover rent payments.
Use a Tenant Screening Service
If possible, sign up with a tenant screening service that can check their credit and criminal background. Many of these services are available today, allowing you to access a full report on your applicants instantly. This will save you time and ensure that any red flags related to your applicants get flagged immediately.
Evaluate the Potential Tenants
Once you have all of the information, evaluate it objectively. If a potential tenant is not making the payments on their loan or if they have a criminal record, you should not rent to them under any circumstances. Never allow personal feelings to get in the way when screening your potential tenants, and always err on caution. If you do agree to rent to a potential tenant, require that they submit a lease agreement and furnish a financial statement and provide their driver’s license and a credit report.
Screening potential tenants is an important part of running a successful rental property. Use the tips outlined in this article to develop a tenant screening process to ensure you find only the best potential tenants for your rental properties.