It is not easy for landlords to collect the rent. In fact, roughly 11 million renters in the United States are behind on their payments. Many people are unemployed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
For the sake of your revenue stream, screening tenants has never been more important. It is imperative for landlords to find a reliable tenant.
Read on for a helpful tenant screening checklist for landlords. Explore how to find the best tenants using well-established criteria.
Criminal Background Check
The first thing you want to do as a landlord is to make sure your tenants do not have a criminal record. Not only does this put into question the tenant’s reliability, but it also increases the risk to the surrounding community.
Few people are willing to live in the vicinity as a criminal. The best thing a landlord can do is run a criminal background check.
Background checks also need to cover sexual offender registries. This is especially true if the rental property is within a certain distance from a local school. The tenant may not legally be allowed to live there with a sexual offense on the books.
Credit Score Check
A landlord also needs to review an applicant’s credit score. The purpose of a credit check is to see the tenant’s history of making on-time payments.
Accepting an applicant with a spotty payment history is risky for your revenue stream. You are essentially accepting the risk of receiving frequent late payments. In the worst-case scenario, your tenant misses payments altogether.
Has the applicant been evicted before? This is a crucial question to figure out.
You do not want to bring in a tenant that has already been removed from another location. It increases the likelihood your tenant misses rent payments.
This is why eviction reports are part of the screening process. They allow you to have confidence that you are bringing in the best tenants possible.
Another critical step is verifying the applicant’s employment status. It is a good idea to contact the tenant’s employer and see how long they have been working there. The longer a person has worked for their employer, the more confidence you can have in their reliability and monthly payment status.
Also, you want to take the opportunity to verify their income. It is important for ensuring the applicant can meet their monthly rent obligation.
One valuable step is to ask for personal references. Contacting references is an effective method for learning about the person.
Personal references are used to vouch for the character of the applicant. You do not want to approve a tenant that is wild or untrustworthy.
Instead, you want to hear all good things from the applicant’s references. A property manager does not want to hear complaints about the applicant’s personal habits after they move in.
Tenant Screening Checklists for Landlords
You are now ready to review tenant applications. The return on investment for your property depends on bringing in quality tenants.
Taking steps like running a background check or credit score goes a long way. If you want to learn more about our tenant screening process, contact us today to speak with a specialist.