Monday, June 2, 2014

How to screen potential tenants

As a property manager, it's important that you find renters that will respect you, your business, and your property.

Sit down with the interested party and have a talk with them. It may seem simple, but key questions about their pets, possible living situation (roommates or frequent visitors), their work schedule, and habits (like smoking) are all the things you need to know.

Good tenants will pay their rent on time, take care of the rented property, and work to maintain a good relationship with their landlord. But screening for tenants can be quite a bit of work. Here are three things to keep in mind when vetting potential tenants.

1. Require tenants to fill out an application

A well-written application can give you all the details you require from potential renters: employment status, income level, character references, potential occupants (including pets), and even contact with their former landlords, who could be invaluable sources for learning about your tenants-to-be.

Information notwithstanding, the attention to detail that your potential renter gives to this application could also speak volumes about who they are as a person, and what you should expect when doing business with them.

2. Check their credit

Depending on where you live, you may be able to check the tenant's credit background. Check their history of late payments, collection accounts, and other financial troubles. Being late for rent once or twice does not mean you have a bad renter on your hands but larger issues such as a bad credit score or even bankruptcy are red flags you should take heed of.

3. Interview the renter

Sit down with the interested party and have a talk with them. It may seem simple, but key questions about their pets, possible living situation (roommates or frequent visitors), their work schedule, and habits (like smoking) are all the things you need to know.

Knowing the person who's renting will tell you a lot about how they plan to use your property, and whether or not they'll be trouble down the road. Keep in mind, however, that you need to be fair and not discriminatory - there may be legal repercussions for any perceived discrimination against them. 


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