On average, 30% of the tenants approved to lease apartments end up being problematic. One of the most important aspects of property management is tenant screening. With the right strategies and tactics, you can perfect your screening process and decrease the risk associated problematic tenants, such as expenses related to eviction and property damage.
Follow these 10 guidelines for tenant screening to keep your property happy and fully occupied with quality tenants:
1. Prequalify the tenant.
Do a telephone interview before showing the property. Find out the basic information – Are they employed? Why are they looking to rent? How many people will live in the apartment? How long of a lease would they like to sign?
Take notes and attach this to the application that the prospective tenant fills out. To make the prequalification process fair and consistent, make sure you have a list of approved questions to ask along with a rating scale to score each prospective tenant.
2. Gain insight from the prospective tenant during the showing.
When showing the property, take mental notes of the prospective tenant. Did they arrive on time? What was their attitude – were they courteous and polite?
What was the condition of their vehicle? Do they ask pertinent questions? Did they complain excessively about their former landlords and/or rental residence?
3. Have the prospective tenant fill out a proper rental application.
Make sure to ask the following questions:
* Full identification such as ID/Social Security and or driver’s license
* Full identification details for additional occupants
* Rental history – current and prior. Ask the prospective tenant to provide rent receipts for the last three months of his current address. Is the address on the receipt consistent with the current address on the application? Is the name on the receipt consistent with the name of the applicant?
* Employment details – current and prior. Ask for paystubs.
* Credit information such as bank details, car financing details and other
credit references such as furniture or clothing accounts
* Friend and family references
* Permission to verify all details
4. Have clearly defined criteria for approved tenants.
Determine the minimum criteria necessary for lease approval. Selecting tenants is a business decision and it is important to make sure that your decisions
are based on financial reasons and rational thinking. Avoid making emotional decisions and check your personal bias. Ensure that your entire property management team is aligned to these criteria.
5. Complete reference checks with previous landlords.
After finding out why the prospective tenants are moving, talk to the landlord to determine if the story is correct. Ask about the condition of the property and how timely they paid rent.
6. Verify employment information and perform a credit check.
Guarantee that the information is correct. Anyone can make a paystub. Use the internet to verify the phone number so they are not asking their friends to pose
as their employer. Gain insight into their performance as an employee. Assess and consider how stable their employment will be for the term of the desired
Have a credit check done by a reputable professional company. The fees charged for such a service are very small compared to unpaid rent or property damages.
This fee could be obtained from charging an application fee.
7. Do a quick virtual assessment.
The internet can provide tons of information. Google the tenant…you may find content on the web about them that will help you determine how suitable they are
for renting in your community.
8. Perform a reference check.
Have at least three references of persons who know the applicant for a minimum of three years. Make sure the references are checked and confirmed. Although
most references will not say something negative about applicant, references can be used as good sources for skip tracing, should it be a future need.
9. Cross reference all information to the application.
All the information the prospective tenant provides should be original forms. Do not accept a copy. Make copies of the documents provided and then verify all the
information. Double check all the documents. Are the names the same and are they spelled the same? Are the birth dates the same? Are the addresses different
without a listing of them on the application? Don’t forget the social security number. Does the SSN match the paystubs and the information the applicant
listed on the application?
10. Check on the property during the lease.
Schedule periodic inspections of the rental unit. This gives you the opportunity to check on occupants, damages or any other unwanted activities without violating
the lease. It also offers your tenant the opportunity to discuss any maintenance problems in person. Knowing that you do inspections may keep your tenants on
Source : nationwideeviction