Tenant Screening Tips for your Rental Property
All landlords hope to find tenants who will pay the rent on time, take good care of the property, and abide by the terms of the lease. That’s why screening your tenants is an important practice to get into, because it can help identify those individuals who are most likely to be such good tenants. When you’re going through the screening process for tenants, here are some things you should keep in mind.
You should always thoroughly examine a tenant’s credit history, because it’s usually a good indicator of how promptly they pay their debts. You don’t have to worry so much about things like medical bills or student loan debt, because those don’t have much impact on a tenant’s ability to pay the rent. However, if you see a history of late payments on a number of debts that a potential tenant has, this should serve as a red flag which means you should avoid this particular candidate.
Another red flag that should immediately make you suspicious is when a candidate submits an incomplete application. This often means that they’re holding back unflattering information about themselves that they don’t want you to know. You should get into the practice of only evaluating applications which are fully completed, and show proof of income, appropriate identification, and all other information requested on the application.
It’s a good idea to contact the previous landlord that any candidate tenant had, so you can get some idea of what kind of tenant they were at their previous location. If there are any standout issues associated with the individual, the previous landlord will probably be able to let you know about that, so that you don’t run into the same issue. If you overlook this aspect of screening, you’ll be doing yourself a great disservice, and you might well overlook a major issue that a tenant would then bring to your own property.
Condition of the property
If you really want to rent out a certain property, you should make sure that it actually is presented well, so that it appeals to those high-quality tenants you’re looking for. The really good tenants can pretty much go anywhere they want and be accepted, so for them to come to your property, they will have to be attracted to your property in some way. If you don’t keep your property in a great state of repair, you probably won’t be able to attract the kind of tenants you’re looking for.
You’re not going to make a bunch of money by charging a screening fee for potential candidates at your property. That’s alright though, because charging a screening fee is not done for the purpose of generating income. The real reason that you should always charge a screening fee is because if you didn’t, anyone at all could apply as a tenant, since they would have nothing to lose.
This would open the door to all kinds of undesirable tenants, and a whole flood of applications that are not really worth your time perusing. Any really good tenant who applies at your property will not mind paying the screening fee, if they believe that your property is well-maintained and is a desirable place to live in. The screening fee itself can be just dropped into your maintenance fund, but make sure to charge one, because it will act as a filtering mechanism to eliminate all kinds of undesirable candidates.