How to Screen Potential Tenants

1.  When looking at rental applications, there are a few key points to look for:

-Job: How long has this person held their current job, and does their income cover rent plus living expenses? Does the potential tenant provide enough bank information for you to be able to know how they will be paying their rent each month?

-Previous Landlords: Does the tenant provide complete contact information for their previous landlords, plus the reason for leaving and the amount of rent paid. As well as landlord contact information, are there personal references that include name, number, and length of acquaintance?
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2.  Questions to ask when “interviewing” the tenant

-Do you have any service animals or emotional support pets?

-Do you have any pets?

-Do you smoke?

-What is your usual work schedule?

3.  Use a qualified property Manager to help you with screening

Enlisting the help of an experienced Property Manager can be the difference between having a great qualified tenant, and a tenant who is less than desirable. Especially if you’re a new landlord, a Property Manager can help you weed out unqualified applicants. Most importantly, a great Property Manager will be up to date on all new laws and regulations to protect you from any legal trouble or common accidents that can occur. These accidental mistakes can include discriminatory language placed in an ad or any issues regarding the legal side of renting properties.
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4.  Contact previous landlords

It is a good idea to contact two previous landlords. It is possible that the most recent landlord will leave a great review just to get rid of the tenant as soon as possible.

Some of the best questions you can ask the previous landlord include:

-Does the tenant have any debt, or is late on any payments?

-Was the any damage done, or any disturbance done to neighbors?

-Would you consider renting to this individual in the future?

5.  Run a Background Check

Usually, if you have a potential tenants social security, you can run a background check. There are numerous companies that will provide you with critical information including public records, criminal records, and evictions. Serious issues such as unpaid child support, a legal battle including unpaid rent, or any criminal history can be a major red flag.

If you have any further questions about tenant screening, please feel free to contact us here!