7 Steps To Screening Tenants
The key to a successful investment property is a great tenant. Make sure that you thoroughly screen potential tenants before you have them sign a lease agreement.
1. Pre-Screen Potential Tenants
Before you even meet with a potential tenant, set certain criteria regarding minimum credit score and income so that you can verify potential tenants. Knowing that a potential tenant has great credit and can afford the rent before even touring the property, will save you time and energy.
Another way to pre-screen potential tenants is to look at their social media accounts. Does this person post photos of them having parties or are they an avid smoker? If a tenant doesn’t have social media, you can simply Google their name and see what pops up.
2. Request An Application
Requesting an application will provide you with potential tenant’s personal information which will assist you in screening people properly. You can find application templates online which should include personal, employment, and financial information. Make sure that your application states that you may run background, credit, and criminal checks so that tenants are fully informed of this process before submitting their application.
3. Conduct A Background Check
Running a thorough background check is highly recommended. There are several companies online that provide this type of service and will give you access to detailed reports.
4. Run A Credit Check
As a landlord, you can request that potential tenants have a certain minimum credit score based on what you require. At BridgeHaus, we require a minimum credit score of 650 for each person over the age of 18 that will be living in the property. However, anyone that is looking to run a credit check must adhere to the Fair Credit Reporting Act and in order to run these tests, you may need to be prequalified.
5. Call Previous Landlords
It is recommended to call previous landlords.
Someone may have great credit and are able to show proof of sufficient income to live in your property but this doesn’t mean they will be a great tenant. Regardless, it is wise to call previous landlords to find out if the tenant every had complaints, if the tenant ever paid their rent late or if the tenant maintained the property to the standard that a landlord would expect. You would be surprised by how someone could look great on paper but in the end, not be an ideal tenant because of past rental history.
6. Speak With Tenant’s Employer
Finding out from an employer if the tenant has a steady income, will give you a peace of mind knowing that your new tenant can afford the rent. Verifying that a tenant actually works for the employer that they specify on their application is a good sign that the information provided is accurate.
7. Interview Potential Tenants
Once you have verified all the information about the tenant, it is a great idea to schedule and conduct an interview. The interview could include questions about future plans, owning pets or if the tenants smokes or drinks. This is a great opportunity to get to know your potential tenants before they move into your property.