Tuesday, July 15, 2014

4 top tips for screening tenants

There’s always a sense of relief when a property owner finds a willing tenant to occupy an available unit. However, as soon as the contract has been signed, some anxiety may follow. Because the landlord is entrusting his property to a complete stranger, a screening process is necessary to avoid having to deal with a bad tenant . 

Here are four tips to help vet potential tenants...

Ask for at least two references that they aren't related to. These references could be co-workers, friends, or school mates. Some landlords and brokers make this their only other requirement aside from the deposit and contract.

1. Make it clear that there's a screening period

Most properties don't have a screening period, but make clear that you have one and that it is part of the procedure. 

Assure your tenant-to-be that their contact information will not be given out, and that you’ll get back to them in a timely manner. Make sure screening periods don't last for more than two or three days.

2. Ask for non-family references

Ask for at least two references that they aren't related to. These references could be co-workers, friends, or school mates. Some landlords and brokers make this their only other requirement aside from the deposit and contract. 

Require the tenant to fill out basic information such as cell phone, home or work phone numbers, and the home location of their references.

3. Ask about their place of work

Work is a safe topic, so you can ask about their line of work, how long they have worked there and what their responsibilities are. You can even ask for a rough estimate of how much they're making, but do not pry for exact figures. 

Based on the potential tenant's answers, you can guess if indeed he or she will be able to meet your monthly rent.

4. Give their previous place of residence a call

As most buildings require biodata prior to contract signing, there is usually a field asking about previous home residence and address. Make some time to contact the administration office of their previous residence, and ask questions about the tenant's record in the building, if any complaints were made about the tenant and if the matter was resolved. 


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