Tenant Screening: How to Stay Safe?

Property Management Blog

If there is one thing that landlords dread the most, it is bad quality tenants in rental property. Therefore, all landlords pay great attention to tenant screening and begin the process soon after receiving an application. It is this tenant screening that saves landlords from the blushes and the financial harm caused by bad quality tenants. If you are a landlord, you should start the process of tenant screening and try to identify red flags to stay safe. The questionnaire designed to help with tenant screening comes handy for all landlords.

One question in this questionnaire that is of great importance for the landlords is the one that asks applicant when he proposes to move in.   The answer to this question gives a clue to the landlord whether the applicant is a good or a bad tenant. There are usually three ways in which applicants answer this question. Two of these answers are such that you are forced into conducting a background check on the applicant.

Answer that you hate the most

If the applicant says he wants to move in tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, you should be wary of such a person. For many landlords, this is an answer that is a big red flag. Why does the applicant wish to move in so quickly? Maybe he is living in a rented house and his landlord has started eviction against him. If this is indeed the case, you would not live to allow such a person into your property. How do you respond to such an answer? Well, you can say that you have a long screening process that will take several days to be completed and so he should look elsewhere if he wants to move in so quickly. You can start to explain your tenant screening process that will put off this applicant.

Another answer that is not to your liking

If the applicant says he wants to   move in after 6 months, he is likely a time waster. Why would you put your property on hold for six months when you can earn rental income for this period? If the individual gives a long time period when he would like to move in, it is better to say no straightaway rather than waste your time over such an application.

The best way to deter a person from showing interest in your property when he wants to move in after 6 months is to ask him to pay the monthly rent.  No one will pay the rent for 6 months without living inside the property. However, you should not waste this opportunity altogether and ask the person to check for vacancy once again sometime before he is about to move in. Who knows what the situation will be 4-5 months later but at least the applicant will check back again when he is finally ready to move in.

Answer that you really want to hear

The two answers described above are not what you want to hear from an applicant. What you are pleased to hear is when the applicant says that he wants to move in a month or so. This answer tells you that the applicant is a forward-thinking man and he could make a potentially good tenant for you.

As a landlord, you should be ready to hear all sorts of answers to your question of probable time of moving. Talk to the applicant in a courteous manner and never judge him based on a single response as you never know if he is a good quality tenant.

If you’d like to talk more about property management, or you need help with Everest Property Management, please contact us at Everest Realty. 

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