Understanding how to screen tenants is essential if you want to run a smooth operation.
It isn't all too difficult to run a proper screen, but mess up and you could be in trouble. A tenant is, at times, a liability, and you want to make sure that you minimize your risks. You also want to be fair to the person that's applying to live in your home.
But how can you have the best of both worlds? We've compiled a brief guide on how to screen tenants so you can handle it the right way.
How to Screen Tenants: a Brief Guide
There are a few different levels to the screening process.
What are Your First Impressions?
How does the person strike you at first? Not physical appearance, but the attitude toward you, the manner of conversation, and the general feel of the interaction should be on your mind.
Were they late to the appointment, or did they reschedule three or four times? These things might be signs that they won't reliable when paying rent. If, however, they seem extremely punctual, on the ball, and kind, rent shouldn't be on your mind yet.
Also, take note of the questions that they ask. Do the questions reflect ulterior motives? Questions about police enforcement might be a red flag unless they're genuinely worried for their safety.
The application is really the most essential part of the whole thing. Some people are just uncomfortable talking with a landlord, and that shouldn't be something that prevents them from getting an apartment. The real stuff comes in the applications.
Make sure to ask for all personal contact information, their date of birth, the social security number, the phone number of their past two landlords, their workplace phone number, a spot to enter any previous troubles with housing that could be explained, and a signature that confirms that you are able to run the background check.
You want to confirm that your tenant makes a monthly income of at least three times what the monthly rent will be. Run a background and credit check that sees if the person has had any evictions or convictions. If the conviction is confusing to you, consult with someone to see if it would likely be an issue.
You should also check with their previous landlords. Even if a person is good on paper, the landlord is going to be the only ones who truly know how they are as a tenant. Sometimes the worst people are the best at staying clean on paper, and the last thing you want is a destructive person to move into your apartment.
Need Help Managing a Property?
It can be difficult to get through the trials of managing a property, but you're not alone. The rules of the road have been lodged when it comes to managing a property, and you can have access to a wealth of tips and tricks from those who have managed in the past.
If you're in need of any help managing a property, whether it's questions on how to screen tenants or questions about leasing, we have the information that you need.