Decades ago in many areas of the country, checking a tenant background history was an unknown commodity. Any person could rent a home, apartment, or condo and virtually provide no personal information let alone a two or three page rental agreement or signing a long-term lease. In those days the only thing that really counted was those green pieces of paper with the pictures of dead presidents on the front. It was a “ticket” in getting a roof over their head. First and last month rent and a cleaning or damage deposit upfront was all that mattered. It was the Mantra used by many landlords. Tenant screening was not mandatory.
That was then; it’s a whole different ballgame now. In today’s rental atmosphere getting a property rented to a qualified tenant wannabe will require a ridged tenant screening check that includes a complete and informative application, credit check the tenant provides, first and last month rent, cleaning deposit, and an extra deposit for any pets. And since most landlords already have their hands full with the tedium of the daily activities of overseeing a plethora of rental units, property management companies have pretty much taken over the tenant screening process. They will handle rental payments and deposits and when necessary, initiate the eviction of a tenant. However, one must “tread softly” in dealing with all tenants thanks to the Fair Housing Laws. Some states have extremely strict tenant-landlord laws that many times favor the tenant.
It has been said by many property owners that about 90 percent of most any tenant problems can quickly be eliminated via your initial tenant screening check. Some of the more obvious signs to be on the lookout for are these:
** Has the tenant prospect come prepared and ready to present an application that has been completed along with the necessary deposit requirements?
** During the showing of a unit as well as the outside grounds, did the prospect continue to point out flaws like no covered parking or having to walk up a flight of stairs?
** How did the prospect(s) present themselves? Did they cop an attitude right-off-the-bat? Was he or she a smoker? Does your “gut” instinct tell you the tenant may be trouble and difficult to deal with?
** What is the tenant driving?
** What is the tenant’s appearance? Did he or she make a good impression? Were they neat and clean? Lifestyle is an important factor.
This article originally appeared on voices.yahoo