How to Screen Tenants
Nine out of ten landlords utilize some sort of screening test to determine whether or not potential tenants are suitable. This may include checking credit scores, verifying employment, or contacting past landlords.
While there is no foolproof method to screen tenants, utilizing multiple measures can help paint a more accurate picture of a potential tenant.
Landlords must remember that they are running a business. Tenants who do not pay rent on time or damage property can severely impact the bottom line. However, some laws must be adhered to when screening tenants.
In this blog post, we’ll show you how to screen a tenant.
Running a Credit Check
This can reveal whether or not an applicant has any outstanding debts. It can also indicate if they have been sued in the past for non-payment of rent.
However, landlords should be aware that certain information will not appear on credit reports for up to two years after it occurred. Therefore, it may be necessary to contact past landlords directly and ask questions about previous tenants’ rental history.
Landlords are also required by law to inform applicants when a credit check is being carried out before running one on them. Applicants must give their consent beforehand and provide personal information such as social security numbers and birthdates for this process to work effectively.
Past landlords can offer important insight into an applicant’s tenancy. They may be able to share whether or not the tenant paid rent on time, caused any damage to the property, or was generally a good tenant.
Employers can also be contacted as they may have information about how long an individual has been with their company and what their job duties entail. This could give landlords an idea of whether or not the potential tenant will have a stable income in the future.
Considering an Applicant’s Income
Landlords need to screen tenants who will be able to afford the rent. To do so, they should ask for proof of income, such as pay stubs or bank statements.
Landlords can also require potential tenants to put down a security deposit. It minimizes any financial losses if they decide to move out prematurely.
Watching for Red Flags
When screening tenants, some certain behaviors or situations could be red flags. This may include if an applicant has a lot of debt, cannot provide proof of income, or has a criminal record.
While not all of these things will automatically disqualify someone from renting an apartment, landlords must be aware of them. They can then decide whether or not they are comfortable with the potential tenant.
Checking Social Media Profiles
It is also a good idea to check the social media profiles of your potential tenants. This can give you a sense of their character and whether they would be a responsible tenant. You can also look for red flags, such as evidence of drug use or illegal activity.
But remember that you should not make your decision solely based on what you find on social media. There may be things tenants post online that they would never do in person, so always take everything into account.
Check social media accounts after conducting a background check and speaking to references. This will give you the most accurate picture of your potential tenant.
Tenant Screening Services
If you don’t have the time to screen tenants yourself, tenant screening services will do it for you.
These companies will screen potential tenants and report back on whether they would make good tenants or not. They can also send you all of the information gathered during their investigation so that you can make an informed decision.
Some property management companies will screen potential tenants for their landlords as part of the management package. If you’re a high-volume property manager and need such a service, there’s tenant screening here.
Ask the Right Questions
Screening tenants don’t have to be complicated. Just ask the right questions, and you will know whether a tenant is trustworthy or not.
Remember that it’s always better to screen too many tenants than not enough. So, don’t feel bad about asking lots of questions—the more information you can gather before making your decision, the better.
Below are some of the questions that you should ask:
- How many people will be living on the property?
- Do you have any pets?
- Are you a smoker?
- What is the reason for your move?
These questions will give you a sense of what the tenant is like and whether they would be a good fit for your property.
Do a Final Check Before Signing the Lease
Before you sign the lease, do one final check to ensure that everything is in order and there are no red flags.
Look back through your notes from the background check and call all the references again. Ensure that they were not lying about anything important and that you haven’t missed anything.
The last thing you want is to discover something later that would have prevented you from renting out your property if only you had known.
Sign the Lease
Once everything has been checked and satisfied with your tenant, it’s time to sign the lease. Make sure that all of the terms that have been agreed upon are written into the contract before signing anything.
This will ensure both parties know what is expected of them and avoid any disputes later in their relationship.
Screen Tenants the Right Way
Screening tenants is an important part of being a landlord. By following the tenant screening tips in this article, you will screen tenants quickly and easily. And remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry—so screen as many tenants as you need to until you find the right one.
We hope you loved reading our tenant screening guide. If you’re a landlord, be sure to check out the rest of our articles to learn more about being successful in this field.