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Top Tips for a Successful Tenant Screening Process

We are no stranger to stories of tenants who fail to pay their rent and damage your rental in one way or another. These things are stressful for us landlords who only want to run a smooth sailing business. It is in hearing such situations that we realize how important it is to find a good tenant.

Opening your property to tenants who are responsible safeguards your investment and finances. But how do you get started? Here are some simple yet effective strategies to make sure you bring in the right people during the screening process.

1. Ask the right questions.

The first step to choosing potential renters is to ask them several important questions. Because you wouldn’t want to waste your time showing your property to a bad tenant, it’s a smart move to prequalify them over the phone.

Consider these basic questions:

• Why are you moving?
• How long have you stayed in your current home?
• How many people will be living with you?
• Can you give me references of your employer and previous landlord?
• Have you been evicted in the past?
• Are you able to pay the security deposit of X amount as you sign the lease?
• Can I run a credit and background check on you?

2. Be cautious and don’t let your feelings get in the way.

Every prospective tenant you’ll meet can pretend to be extra nice so they can win your approval. A tenant may seem attractive but behind it can be danger. There’s a saying, “If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.” It’s good to put in mind that not everything is as it seems. To be able to find legitimate tenants, you need to follow a fixed process.

Always maintain compliance such as doing background checks. Get a renter’s consent to run an employment, criminal history, and credit check. If you are going to speak with the current landlord of a tenant, be specific about the details. Keep your emotions out of your decision.

3. Go for a tenant who has stability.

Most landlords look for tenants who have a sense of stability. In the process of reviewing their applications, you’ll want to check whether a tenant often moves from one place to another and changes jobs. If you see a pattern, this is a sign that the tenant may be having issues with his previous landlords.

Stability is a good indicator that a tenant will be able to pay the rent on time and that your rental property won’t be vacant anytime soon. Of course, you wouldn’t want to deal with an early eviction and start hunting for new tenants all over again.

4. Confirm the identity of a tenant.

Identity theft is common, which is why you need to make sure that a tenant is really who he claims he is. Tenants can cheat landlords just to get approval. They can falsify their licenses, utility bills, and give out fake references.

For a start, a tenant should be confident enough when it comes to showing his ID. You will need to get a tenant’s full name, photo, birthdate, and SSN to match these details with a tenant’s credit report. Also, the internet has made it possible for you to search information in a few clicks, so do a random tenant background search and see what comes up. Google is the best search engine to start with.

5. Get your tenants talking.

You can tell whether a tenant is a good one by the things he tells you during casual conversations. It’s a good idea to let the tenant share his previous rental experience. What happened? Did the tenant have a difficult relationship with his landlord?

A conversation starter might be, “I understand that some landlords can be difficult to deal with.” When looking for a prospective tenant, relying on paperwork alone does not show you the entire story. Casual conversations are a creative means of catching important details about a tenant.

Prevention is the key

A successful rental business begins with finding the right tenants. Closing your doors to people who can wreak havoc is important from the start. Preventing a high tenant turnover by taking the screening process seriously offers you peace of mind in the long run. Lastly, practice good ethics when screening. Be fair and avoid judging a tenant based on personal bias. Do not discriminate.

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