How to Screen Potential Tenants

In a perfect world, every property owner would have the perfect tenants that pay rent on time and leave your property undamaged but this doesn’t always happen. At first, a prospective tenant might seem like the ideal candidate but once they’ve moved in and are settled, can prove otherwise. To help avoid any issues, thoroughly screening your tenants before they sign a lease is crucial.

Screening potential tenants will take a little extra time and effort on your part, but the reward is well worth it.

1. Request an Application

Having all potential tenants fill out a rental application is a great way to learn anything you need to about the tenant. Whether you create your own, use an online application, or receive a sample application from your local real estate association, make sure the application covers employment, financial, and personal information.

In addition to this information, be sure to state that if needed, a background check, criminal history check, and credit check will be completed. The rental application is also a good place to request authorization to access financial, employment, and personal history.

What to Look For:

  •  Employment history – How long has the individual been at their current job? Do they tend to switch positions frequently?
  • Current income – Does the current income of the tenant cover the rent and regular living expenses?
  • References – What feedback does the tenants references have about them? Did they pay their rent on time? Are there any red flags?
  • Occupants – How many occupants will be living in the unit? Do they have pets?

2. Run a Credit & Background Check

Running a credit check will give you a better idea of the tenants financials. If they carry any hefty debt, have a history of late payments, or have unpaid balances, you’ll be able to see this information and how it relates to paying rent on time.

A background check will provide you with details pertaining to evictions, criminal records, and public records, which are all helpful when it comes to deciding whether or not the tenant has potential to be an issue in the future.

3. Contact Previous Landlords

Assuming the potential tenant provided you with references for past apartments, giving them a call will give you a better sense of the tenant as a whole.

Question to Ask:

  • Does the tenant owe outstanding rent?
  • Does the tenant have a history of paying rent late?
  • Has the tenant caused excessive damage to the property?
  • Would you ever rent to this tenant again?

4. Contact the Tenant’s Employer

Contacting the tenant’s listed employer will help you confirm that they have a steady, reliable source of income. If you do not feel comfortable contacting the employer, ask the tenant for a copy of a recent pay stub before having them sign a lease.

5. Interview the Tenant

Once everything checks out, give the tenant a quick call and perform a short phone interview to get to know them a little better. This is also a great way to start open conversation before they move in.

Questions to Ask:

  • Do you have pets? How old are they and are they house broken?
  • Do you plan on having any roommates?
  • Do you work a 9-5 or do you have odd, unpredictable hours?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Will friends or family members be frequently staying the night?

Not ready to handle the tenant screening process? Let our team at Lamacchia Property Management help. Give us a call today to learn more at (855) 213-3410.