One of the most important decisions you will make as a landlord is choosing the right tenant for your property. The right tenant can easily mean the difference between being paid on time or chasing the tenant for rent each month. It can also mean the difference between your property being cared for and being trashed. With so many things to consider, how can you ensure that you choose the right tenant? Conducting an effective tenant screening can help.
1. Obtain and Check References
Asking for references is a must when conducting a tenant screening. Unfortunately, many landlords make the mistake of obtaining references but never actually checking them. By simply calling a former landlord or employer, you can often obtain vital information that can assist you in making an informed decision.
2. Run a Credit Check
Is your prospective tenant creditworthy? The only way you will know for certain is if you obtain consent from the applicant to run a credit check. While this is certainly a sensitive issue, the future of your business depends upon knowing that your tenants have the ability to pay their rent on time. If a tenant is hesitant to comply with a credit check, this is likely an indication that he or she is not capable of making the rent.
3. Use a Standard Tenant Application Form
A standard lease application form will help you to gather the information you need and keep details organized while also ensuring that you do not drift into any potentially illegal areas. Instead of using a paper form, considering using an online rental application.
4. Take Your Time
Many times, landlords feel as though they must rush into making a leasing decision and opt for the first application they receive. This strategy can result in significant problems later on. Instead, take the time necessary to carefully review the applications you receive along with the relevant background, credit check, and reference information.
5. Meet the Tenant in Person
An online rental application can be an effective way to handle the application process while saving time. Even so, it is a good idea to meet prospective tenants in person at least once prior to making a decision.
6. Collect a Deposit
Collecting a deposit can help to ensure that your property is protected. Even the most conscientious tenants can cause damage to a rental unit, and you need to know that your investment is protected. If a tenant is hesitant or unable to make a deposit, this could signal the potential for future problems. Avoid the temptation to make an exception or you could find that you will have to pay for damages out of your own pocket.
7. Consider Using a Tenant Screening Service
There is no doubt that the process of conducting an effective tenant screening can be time-consuming. Using a professional tenant screening service, such as VerticalRent, can help to remove much of the burden from your shoulders, save you time, and give you greater peace of mind.