Why Tenant Screening is Important?

Property Management Blog

Being a landlord isn’t an easy job, in the haste of getting tenants as soon as possible, landlords tend to take in less desirable or nightmarish candidates. It’s this practice that lands the landlord with tenants that are horrible, tardy with rent payment or those who are careless with the rental property.

The easiest way to get rid of this problem is to screen the tenants properly. You need the perfect candidate who pays rent of time, complies with the rules and regulations of the neighborhood and also keeps the property in check.

When you compromise on a tenant because you are looking to avoid bad turnover, you might land yourself is a more expensive position. For instance, if your tenant is overdue and doesn’t pay rent, you lose your cash flow, or if your tenant is careless with the property, you will have to pay more in repairs and to clean up after them. All these factors matter when you are taking in a new tenant. In-depth screening can help you check out the entire tenant history of your candidates. This enables you to see any misconduct, missed payments or eviction issue the tenants might have had in the past. It’s an important exercise that is sure to help the landlord to get the right candidate and stay away from the bad ones.

Tenant Screening:

Tenant screening is just like when companies screen their new hired people, they check references and ask around to see if the employee is worth taking in. Landlords are advised to do the same when they are checking out new candidates for their rental property. Not only does it save a lot of hassle, but screening will also help you get long term tenants and give you a reasonable turnover rate.

It’s the first step in evaluating the tenant, to check whether they are what the claim to be or not. Screening helps you decide whether the tenant will pay on time or not, take care of your property to wreck it, and it also helps you get the best from the lot. Screening isn’t only checking out the documents and the tenant not only involves analyzing the information or tenant’s application but also to go through every bit of public information about the tenant you can find with a fine-tooth comb. By doing this, you can verify everything that is written in the application of the tenant.

Here are a few ways you can screen your tenants even better.

Traits of a Decent Tenant:

  • You should look for the following characteristics to mark your tenant as a good tenant.
  • Consistent and full payment, always on time and no tardiness
  • Doesn’t threat the other residents in any this includes health, security as well as peace
  • Does no damage to the property, keeps it clean and tidy
  • Initiates no illegal activity on the rental property
  • Doesn’t cheat in any way, completely honest and honor-bound

Following are a few ways to get the best tenant. How to commence the tenant screening process successfully?

Tenant Application request:

The first thing you need to do is make the tenant fill out the application form. This form helps you get as much information as you can get from the tenant voluntarily. This helps you get the basic information like the address, social security, full name, employment details but also gives you a better picture of what your tenant is like.

A tenant application gets you three categories of information:

  • Personal information
  • Financial information
  • Employment information

Make sure you know the fair housing laws because as per the laws, you can’t ask the tenant some specific question that might raise discrimination issues. These can get you in trouble as well as get you a lawsuit from the tenant as well. If you aren’t sure about a question, run it by your real estate lawyer. For instance, you can ask the following questions.

  • Occupation as well as the salary
  • Habits like smoking or drinking?
  • Pets or no pets, ask if they have a service animal or not?
  • The period of their last tenancy and why was it terminated?
  • Expected tenancy period with the new landlord?
  • Why makes you interested in the current property?
  • Expected move-in date?
  • Number of family members who would move in
  • Occupation as well as the salary
  • All past references

Your motive isn’t only to get these forms filled but also to review them and analyze all the information you have gathered. Apart from that, you will also need to counter check everything that is written on the application form. You can’t trust the tenant, so double-check everything that is written on the form. You need to dig as far as you can to check all the references.

Credit History:

There is nothing that can give you a proper background check on a tenant than a credit history check. This is one of the most important steps of tenant screening. 

A credit check gives insight on two things:

  • The financial history of the tenant
  • Whether he will be able to pay the rent or not

If there are over die payments or late payments on the credit check, you can surmise that the tenant may not be able to pay the rent on time. Reoccurring late payments are a huge indication of tardiness. A credit check also tells you if the tenant is in debt or not, if he or she is paying back a considerable loan, then they may not be able to afford the rent.

Background Check:

A background check covers a lot of ground. Here’s what your background check report should include:

Criminal History: Has your potential tenant ever been convicted of any federal, state, county or national crimes. A criminal record isn’t a good reason to reject a tenant, but a severe offense that can’t be ignored is legit enough reason to discard the application and dismiss the tenant.

Eviction History: The report should also cover all past rentals as well as eviction details. The reason for eviction is the most important factor here.

Every landlord should take the tenant screening part of their job very seriously to avoid any mishaps in the future.

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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