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Top Mistakes to Avoid When Screening Tenants

Can you imagine the consequences of renting out your home to the wrong tenants? Experienced landlords know that it's a costly mistake. Think about all the bad things that could happen: unpaid rent, evictions, stolen property, and damage - to name a few.

Because of these possibilities, landlords should pay more attention to their screening process. A proper screening process will allow you to weed out bad renters. Today's article reveals frequent mistakes that landlords make during tenant screening. 

Mistake #1: Skipping tenant screening altogether

If you do not require all your prospective renters to undergo screening, you increase your risk of accepting a terrible tenant. Making assumptions of whether a tenant is good or not based on appearance and words is a wrong practice. Once a person shows interest in your rental, ask a series of qualifying questions. Run a credit check and background check.

Mistake #2: Not having a rental application

A rental application or written contract is one of the most essential aspects of tenant screening. It's a legal document that enables you to check your tenant's background, employment, and rental history. It also requires tenants to swear that the information they provided in the application is accurate and true. 

Mistake #3: Not doing an eviction search

Many landlords stress about a prospective tenant's credit report (which gives you a good idea of their ability to pay rent on time). However, a landlord could ignore an eviction search. Make sure to check for a tenant's prior evictions if you want to save yourself from hassle in the long run. To know if a tenant has been evicted before, you can check courthouse records. You may also hire a third-party service to assist you in obtaining information.

Mistake #4: Violating the Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act is a law that discourages discriminatory practices related to housing. While landlords can turn down tenants because they've provided false information or don't have enough income, there are certain things that are off-limits. Landlords cannot deny housing based on color, disability, familial status, religion, national origin, race, and gender. These are protected classes under the Fair Housing Act.

Mistake #5: Not asking prequalifying questions

Before you give people a tour of your rental, make sure that you prequalify an individual by asking the right questions. You want to learn as much as you can about a prospect: How they found out about your rental, whether they are able to afford it, their willingness and ability to abide by the rules, and more. 

Over to You

Avoiding these mistakes will help you succeed as a do-it-yourself landlord. Start by screening all tenants properly. Don't play favorites or discriminate. If you need more tips and advice in following a standard process (as well as access to templates), be sure to check out Landlord Prep's offered courses

If you’re ready, make Landlord Prep your go-to resource for landlording education. Here, we offer a complete DIY landlording course to get you on the right track. Join our academy today. If you want, you can check out Flavia’s real estate investing webinar first!