Tenant Screening Best Practices: Tips for Landlords and Property Managers

Tenant Screening Best Practices: Tips for Landlords and Property Managers

Once a tenant signs a contract, they receive various legal protections. If they cause problems, you'll have a hard time evicting them.

The smart move? Avoid this nightmare scenario altogether by conducting robust tenant screening. So how can you separate the good renters from the bad? Read on to learn some of the top ways to scrutinize prospective new residents.

Conduct Credit Checks

One of the most important tenant screening criteria is the credit check. Credit checks are one of the best ways to establish the reliability and trustworthiness of a potential tenant. A credit check will reveal if someone has a history of bankruptcy or not paying debts on time.

Knowing this kind of history is essential because it reveals how someone will likely behave. Someone who never pays their bills on time is likely to do the same with rent.

Check Employment and Income

Of course, a credit check won't necessarily reveal if a potential renter currently has the funds to afford rent each month. To establish proof of income, you need to confirm that your tenant is gainfully employed. It's not unheard of for people to try making up jobs to secure a lease, so you need to get proof.

Proof of employment could mean requesting bank statements and recent pay stubs. You could also just contact the employer directly.

Learn About Their Rental History

One of the best ways to learn a lot about a potential tenant is to investigate their past behavior with other landlords. When looking for new tenants, consider asking for landlord references. You'll likely hear about things like payment history and the condition of their previous property when they left.

Naturally, not everyone can provide a reference from an old landlord. Maybe it's the first time someone has ever rented. In this case, you might ask for a character reference from an individual in that person's life.

Follow Fair Housing Standards

You should never decide who to rent to based on characteristics like race, religion, or nationality. Many local and national laws explicitly outlaw such practices. You should only ever decide who to rent to based on factors like financial stability and tenancy history.

If an applicant can prove you used discriminatory tenant screening criteria, they can take legal action against you. A good property management company ensures you're always compliant with fair housing regulations.

Review Your Potential Tenants

While formal checks are important, often you can get the most reliable impression of a potential renter by meeting them in person. By simply sitting down and talking, you'll get a good sense of an applicant's lifestyle and personality.

You'll be able to figure out if they seem trustworthy, and you'll also be able to gauge their compatibility with the neighbors.

Find the Right Partner

Doing comprehensive tenant screening is a crucial process, but it's complicated. To guarantee a complete check, many landlords partner with a reliable property manager. A good property manager has all the required experience to uncover the things about an applicant you need to know.

Adams Properties, powered by the PMI, has decades of experience helping landlords like yourself find the most reliable and trustworthy tenants. Contact us today to find out why so many landlords in Charleston trust us with screening services.