One of the main drivers of success in property management is properly screening potential tenants. In doing so, you can save yourself the hassle of difficult tenants and improve your likelihood of landing and keeping quality, long-term renters. Of course, there is a right way and wrong way to vet prospective tenants. Here are three fundamental components of the tenant screening process you simply cannot afford to neglect.
They say that the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour, and this concept is certainly true when it comes to tenancy. Unless it’s a first-time renter, you should be diligent about looking into each applicant’s rental history. Ask for the names and numbers of the last three landlords and give them a call. From there, you can gauge what type of tenant each applicant might be. Do they pay their rent on time? Have they taken care of the property? Do they get along with the neighbours, etc.?
Credit & Background Check
The next essential thing to consider is how responsible they are financially and whether or not they have a criminal history. After all, you want to fill your vacant units with renters who are gainfully employed and/or otherwise capable of affording the rent. You also don’t want anyone renting from you who may have a propensity to do damage to your property or cause harm to others. Often, just requiring this information can be effective in weeding out undesirable applicants who may have something to hide.
While there are certainly two sides to every story, a history of being evicted can be a serious red flag for future landlords. This is not to say that anyone who has ever been evicted should be automatically excluded from the application process, but individuals with multiple evictions may be more likely to cause similar issues if you decide to rent to them. Be sure to do your due diligence when evaluating eviction records. Oftentimes the best defence is a good defence.
As a landlord or property manager, your ultimate goal is to keep your properties filled with reliable, long-term tenants. By applying the above three strategies to your screening process, you can more effectively vet prospects and improve your odds of finding those needles in the haystack.