The perks of having high-quality tenants in your rental property is that you receive the rent promptly, you aren’t overwhelmed by infinite tenant concerns, and you do not have to worry about the renter damaging your property. Which therefore begs the question. How does one get such quality tenants? The answer lies in three words; Effective Tenant Screening.
A popular misconception among landlords is that the screening process is a one-time affair that takes place after a prospective renter fills an application. The truth, however, is that the vetting involves a series of steps, which commence the moment interested parties start to inquire about the vacant property.
1. Defining your ideal tenant
Every landlord has his or her expectations of the kind of resident they desire to live in their rentals. The first thing you should, therefore, do is to state the type of tenant you want. For instance, one who has a stable source of income and can pay the rent on time, is hygienic, and takes excellent care of your property. Furthermore, he or she should have good credit ratings, favorable past and current landlord references, no criminal record and does not engage in illegal activities. Once you have your preset qualities, use them as the yardstick for qualifying the prospective tenants at each stage of interaction.
2. Screening at the first point of contact
You should start evaluating each applicant right from the initial point of interaction. From the moment they begin inquiring about your Centennial properties. It could be via phone, an internet ad response, or email inquiry. It would help if you had with you a pre-selected set of qualifying questions to ask those who show interest. For instance, you could ask them their reason for shifting, when they intend to move, how long they intend to rent your property for, their marital status, landlord references, credit score, as well as whether they have pets. How they respond to your questions will help you decide whether or not to invite them to view the property.
3. Screening during the property viewing
When showing the prospects the property, you need to vet them to ascertain those who meet your perfect tenant standards. Be on the lookout for telltale signs such as the appearance, attitude, and tone of the prospects. Was the candidate clean, smart and presentable? Were they respectful or were they difficult? Did the candidate appear to criticize everything or only pointed out genuine concerns? Did they show real interest in the property?
4. Screening during the application filling stage
The application filling process is what most landlords consider the actual tenant screening. In this juncture, you will have narrowed the number of prospects significantly. The challenge, however, is that you still need to identify the best candidate. For this reason, ask all the contenders to fill the application, through which you will capture critical details such as;
a. The applicant’s personal information namely; the legal names, driver’s license number, National ID, telephone number, email address, physical address, date of birth, and their Social Security.
b. The particulars of previous and current landlords. These include the names, phone numbers, emails, and physical addresses.
c. Employment and income information such as the firm’s name, nature of business, type of work, and his or her position in that company.
d. Tenancy history data such as past evictions, judgments, broken leases, previous addresses, rent amount, and reasons for moving.
e. The Release of Information Signature, to authorize you, the prospective Denver, Colorado landlord, to gather more information about the applicant from other sources.
5. Screen the application
Once the potential candidates submit their applications, you need to assess them for two reasons. Firstly, to verify whether the information provided is truthful, and secondly to see whether they match your ideal tenant standards. To conduct background checks, you should;
a. Call the current and previous landlords and inquire more about their relationship with the prospective renter. For instance did the tenant pay rent promptly, take good care of the property and get along well with the neighbors, or was problematic.
b. Verify the applicant’s employment and income information by calling his or her HR Manager to ascertain how long the applicant has worked there, their monthly income, their designation, as well as how stable the position is. However, if the candidate is self-employed, you can verify his or her income information using their tax returns.
c. Run a credit check to get an accurate standing of the applicant’s credit history. Be on the lookout for red flags such as late payments charges, bankruptcy, car repossessions, unpaid loan balances, maxed out credit cards, and poor credit score ratings, as these are signs of future rent payment problems.
d. Conduct a background check, using the applicant’s social security number to obtain detailed reports on the tenant. That includes his or her eviction history, criminal record, public records, and credit history.
6. Compare the background check results with the application information
Once you are through with running background checks, analyze the information you found against what the prospect filled in the form. If the two reports complement each other, then you have a reliable tenant. However, for those whose data does not match chances are they are hiding something, or they conveniently ‘forgot’ to provide some info.
7. Review the lease agreement terms with the applicants
After all these steps, chances are you will remain with two or three strong contenders for your property. Take the time to interview and inform each one of them of your tenancy guidelines and note how they respond. From this process, you should be in the perfect position to identify who to let into your property.