How to screen potential tenants?

With a good tenant you don’t need to worry if the rent will be paid on time or if the property will be maintained well. On the other hand with a bad tenant you may suffer from delayed or no rent payments, concerns about property maintenance, or even complaints from angry neighbors for nuisance posed by the tenant. For these reasons and more it’s important to ensure that you are getting the best tenant by screening every prospective applicant before allowing him or her to sign a lease.

Here are a few tenant screening techniques that can help you to get a good tenant easily and quickly.

  • Request an application. Start by asking every prospective tenant to complete an application. Ensure that the application you choose covers all credentials you need to know about the tenant. Choose an application that comprises personal information, financial information, and employment information. Make sure that the application plainly states that a criminal history report, background check, and credit check will be ordered, if need be, and the prospective tenant is granting authorization to check his or her personal, employment, and financial history.

  • Run a credit check. A credit check reveals details about the tenant’s credit history going back up to 10 years. Look for the history of collection amounts, late payments, charged off credit card amounts, and other major issues such as bankruptcy.
    One or two late payments does not make the individual a bad tenant. A serious delinquency, for example, would be bankruptcy. Also, check whether the tenant has maxed out all his credit cards, has several unpaid balances, or carries hefty loans since such tenant may find it difficult to pay your rent on time.

  • Run a background check. A background check will provide you with a detailed report of a tenant’s past and should include eviction history, credit history, criminal history, and various public records. You can order all these reports with help of the tenant’s social security number.
    Eviction history will tell you whether the tenant has ever been evicted. Criminal records will advise you whether the prospective tenant has committed any crimes. Public records will reveal whether the tenant is involved in litigation or has been sued in the past. It is best not to accept a tenant with any of these types of records.

  • Contact former landlords of the tenant. Inquiring about the prospective tenant by calling their former landlord will help you learn various crucial details about the tenant’s rent payment history such as whether the tenant owes any outstanding debt, has damaged the rental unit, has a history of late payments, or has caused major issues while residing there. This will help you decide whether this tenant is a good fit for your property or not.

  • Contact the tenant’s employer. Calling the tenant’s employer helps you know whether the tenant has a stable, reliable source of income before you allow the tenant to sign a lease. If the employer does not provides you with the salary history details of the tenant, you can ask your potential tenant to provide you his salary history details.

  • Interview the tenant. Finally, after checking all records, interview the tenant before signing a lease. Inquire about the tenant’s lifestyle such as whether the tenant has any pets, how their typical working day is, whether they plan to have any roommates in the future, and similar lifestyle questions that can help you make an educated decision to have the tenant or not.

By using these techniques to screen a potential tenant you’ll increase your odds of finding a good tenant. The right tenant may even maintain your rented property and at the very least won’t destroy it. In conclusion, these tips will help you provide a more stable, reliable tenant simply by having screening procedures in place.