6 Ways to Screen Your Tenants

If you are a new landlord or just one that is looking to perfect the process of making sure that you are bringing in the right people to live in your properties, there are a couple of different steps you can take. You’re going to want to make sure that you have some sort of screening process. You don’t want to go in cold and not knowing the kind of people you are allowing to live in your properties. The screening process doesn’t need to be a difficult one of you do it right.

1- Come up with an application that fits you.

There are plenty of applications that landlords can use in order to start the screening process. You are going to want to make sure that your application is one that gives you the first steps in making sure that the people who want to rent your property are the kind of people you would be comfortable having as your tenants. Get yourself a copy of an application, then read it over carefully and change any questions you think don’t apply and add some you think do apply.

2- Run a credit check.

After you hand an application to potential renters, you are going to want to run a credit check in order to make sure that any financial information they give you is accurate. You need to make sure that the people you are agreeing to let you pay rent aren’t in a situation where they aren’t going to be able to pay their bills just a few months after they move in. Worse yet, you aren’t going to want to get blindsided if they tend to be people that run out on their bills once they get too big.

3- Run a background check as well.

While the credit check can find out what someone owes and what they don’t pay, a background check is going to make sure they haven’t committed any crimes. If you are someone who wants to make sure that the people you are renting to are who they say they are and they are law-abiding citizens, this is a must-have. You need to know that if they do have some crimes on their record, that they are either minor enough not to matter, or even better, that they mentioned and explained what they were.

Having a blip on these kinds of reports isn’t necessarily a reason not to rent to someone, as long as you feel you can trust the person to be up front and honest about why the blip on the credit check is there.

4- Check out the previous landlords.

You might have realized at this point that there are a couple of different ways to check out if the person you are looking at is someone you can trust. In order to do this, you’re going to want to run some checks. You can also talk to the people that they have rented from before. This isn’t just a redundant step. Say a possible renter doesn’t have the greatest credit report. If you talk to a former landlord and they report that the tenant never missed a payment, then you know that the people you are looking at, at least understand the priorities of paying rent. This can be a way to double check your gut reaction to the people who are trying to rent from you.

5- Interview the tenant.

Sometimes this is a separate step. Sometimes this is a step you are going to do as they are submitting the application. Either way, you need to actually talk to the potential tenants and see if you like what they have to say. Ask them personal questions, ask them professional questions and see what their answers end up telling you about them.

6- Call their employers.

This can be one of the last steps because you are just confirming what you should already know at this point. This is just a kind of formality to make sure you know that they work where they say they work and are decent employees before you rent to them.