Renting to good tenants can make a big difference both in your state of sanity and your cost. The issue is that the more time you put into the screening process the better result you will get. We know just how much time it can take, finding a good tenant through a screening process is extremely time-consuming. Not to mention that whole time your property is vacant, but if you rush and rent to a nightmare tenant the eviction process takes an eternity. Here are some ways to effectively screen your potential tenants.
Everyone knows to request an application, but how do we know what is indicative of a good tenant? Or what to ask on an application? Even a potential tenant who isn’t struggling financially can still be late on rent or cause you other unneeded grievances. Ask for their rental history with some references, their income level, and current/previous employment. Look for gaps in rental history and if they switch jobs often their income could be unstable.
A credit check on a potential tenant seems self-explanatory. A credit score can be a decent indicator of whether they will pay rent every month. This is by no means a 100% guarantee that a potential tenant will or will not be late on rent. Rejecting a potential tenant because of low credit may not always be the right choice. Using this in conjunction with other information to form a complete picture is your best bet.
This goes hand in hand with a credit check. These can be easily ordered with the potential tenant’s social security number. You are looking for the obvious on the background check. Evictions, criminal record, and anything else that might indicate non-payment.
Contact Previous Landlord and Employer
Contacting the previous landlord gives you a sense of the potential tenant’s lifestyle. These are the things that another landlord would know to tell you that the tenant might not think was relevant. The employer can tell you that they have a steady and reliable job and answer other questions you might have.
Conduct Your Own Interview
This is what will give you the best idea of a potential tenant. You can get all your questions that you can think of answered. Do they have a pet? Do they smoke? Do they plan on having roommates or subleasing? And everything else can be answered by your potential tenant. A simple and quick phone interview can be a powerful tool to discover exactly the person you are going to rent your property to.
Eviction is a pain. Try and avoid this by spending the time needed to effectively screen potential tenants. Use your instincts. Doing this whole process for every person who is interested would not be economical. Before embarking armed with your newfound knowledge, give the Landlord and Tenant Act a good look to understand the laws involved.