One of the keys to success with managing a rental property is tenant screening because the quality of your screening will result in you renting to the most qualified tenants.
If you’re new to owning rental properties, or you’ve owned rentals for years, this article will offer you several tenant screening tips that you can use to screen and place the right tenants in your property.
Identify tenant needs and requirements
Before you begin screening applicants, you should first identify tenant needs and requirements. This can help you create a shortlist of ideal tenants based on their needs and requirements. For example, you can use tenant profiling to help you establish that you want to rent to a family with school-age children. By knowing exactly who you want to rent to, you can save time and reduce the chance of selecting the wrong tenant. It’s important to note that you can’t discriminate against a potential tenant based on protected class. This means that you can’t select a tenant based on their race, religion, sex, or national origin. You also can’t refuse a tenant based on their source of income, disabilities, and/or children, marital status, and/or sexual orientation.
Review applications and rent price
Once you begin to receive applications, you’ll need to review each application and rent price. You can use this as an opportunity to screen for risk. For example, if the application has a credit score of 650 or less, you can consider rejecting the application. If the application is from a source of income that is not verified, you can also consider rejecting the application. Always review the rental price. You don’t want to select a tenant that expects to pay less than the price listed on your rental application. This could be a sign that they may not stay in the property for an extended period of time. You also want to make sure that the rent price is reasonable. You don’t want to price your rental out of the market.
Check credit and background
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of applicants, you’ll want to conduct a full credit and background check on each applicant. This will help you to identify any red flags and potential issues. Always make sure to get permission from the tenant before conducting any type of background check. You may also want to consider using a tenant screening company to conduct background checks. This can help to ensure that you’re complying with fair housing laws. Make sure you also check the credit report to help you identify any red flags. Make sure to check the credit report of all adults listed on the application. You don’t want to select a tenant that has a low credit score or has had issues with their credit in the past. You also want to make sure that they have enough credit available to cover the rental payment.
Once you’ve conducted a credit and background check, you should also contact references. This will help you to confirm that the information you’ve gathered about your tenant is accurate. Always give your tenant notice before contacting their references. This will help you to avoid any potential confusion. Always contact at least two references. You can contact the current landlord if the tenant is currently renting. You can also contact a previous landlord or employer if the tenant is not currently renting. It’s also a good idea to ask your tenant for additional references. This will help to confirm that their current references are legitimate.
Verify employment and income
You want to make sure that your tenant can afford the rental payment. This will help to protect you from a potential eviction. You also don’t want to select a tenant that might not be able to stay in the rental for an extended period of time. This will help you to avoid going through the renting process again and again. Always verify employment and income. This can help to protect you from a potential scam. You don’t want to select a tenant that isn’t employed or has a low or inconsistent income. This will increase your risk of losing money on your rental. You also want to make sure that the employment and income information is consistent with the information on the application. This can help you to avoid a false application.
Check rental history
You want to make sure that your tenant has a rental history. This will help you to avoid selecting a tenant that is new to renting. It will also help you to avoid selecting a tenant that has recently evicted from another rental property. This can be helpful for protecting you from a potential eviction. You can check rental history with a rental history report or rental verification service. This can help you to identify any issues with past rentals. Make sure to check all addresses associated with the tenant. You also want to make sure that the tenant has listed the correct information. This can help to avoid confusion.
Conduct a tenant interview
After you’ve conducted a full background check, you should conduct a tenant interview. This can help you to identify any red flags and come to a more informed decision on which tenant to select. This is also a good time to discuss expectations, terms, and conditions. Always conduct a thorough tenant interview. This will help to reveal any potential issues and help you to select the right tenant. It’s important to remain objective during the interview. Avoid sharing too much information. This can help you to avoid disclosing any sensitive information.
Run a tenant screening report
Once you’ve conducted a credit and background check, you should run a tenant screening report. You can use this report to identify any potential issues. Make sure to run a full report rather than a standard report. This will allow you to view all available information. You can also run a criminal history report to help you identify any potential issues. This will help you to avoid selecting a tenant that has a criminal record. Make sure to run a full report rather than a standard report. This will allow you to view all available information.
Take photos and document the property
Once you’ve selected a tenant, you should take photos and document the property. This will help you to record the condition of the property and any existing damages before the tenant moves in. It will also help you to quickly document any existing damages if your tenant is unable to repair them. This can help you to reduce maintenance expenses. Always document the property before your tenant moves in. This can help you to avoid any miscommunications or misunderstandings between you and your tenant. It can also help you to avoid any potential disputes with your tenant down the line.
Sign a rental agreement
Once you’ve selected a tenant, you should sign a rental agreement. This will help to protect both you and your tenant. It will also help you to set expectations and outline potential terms and conditions. Always make sure to create a standard rental agreement. This can help you to protect yourself from any potential issues. It’s also important to consider how your tenant screening process may change over time. This can help you to stay up-to-date on new services and best practices. You may also want to make changes to your tenant screening process as your rental property changes. This can help you to ensure that you’re selecting the right tenant for your property.
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