Screening the applicants to rent your property is one of the best ways to ensure that you have a successful investment property experience. Great renters pay on time, stay for a long time, and keep your property in good condition, costing you virtually nothing and creating significant gains for your investment business.
On the other hand, there are also tenants who damage property, pay rent late or not at all, and bounce between rentals. One particular kind of tenant, dubbed “professional tenants,” know enough about rental rights that they often get away with paying late or not at all, resulting in a lot of expensive evictions for their landlords.
Screening is your chance to make sure that you acquire a great set of tenants. Here are the steps to make sure you are doing this well.
Evaluate The Credit Check
After you get written approval, you can pull a credit report for your potential tenants. This report can help you do a variety of things.
First, there will be ways to corroborate past information, like previous addresses, that should match the information on the rental application.
Secondly, you’ll be able to get a fairly complete picture of the individual or family’s use of credit: have they been evicted before? Repeatedly?
Lastly, you can use the credit check to determine some timeliness: if they’ve never had a late payment or only one or two over many years, you have a very reliable potential tenant.
Evaluate the Background/Criminal Check
The criminal check allows you to know the kinds of convictions this tenant has in his or her past. Not every parking ticket or minor violation is worthy of rejection.
However, criminal convictions in the past can be a reason to reconsider a potential tenant if that conviction indicates a clear danger to your current tenants in a multi-family unit.
Understand what does and doesn’t count as discrimination in your state, since some crimes and convictions should not be used to reject an application in certain places, and no criminal convictions should be used to forward an intentionally or unintentionally discriminatory screening process.
Contact References Through the Rental History
The rental history makes it possible for you to talk to past landlords and learn if there were issues with those tenants in the past.
Both references from landlords and employers can give you a good picture that the credit and criminal check may not; one or two red flags in the past can be dismissed if the person appears to have gained and maintained a high reputation at work and given no trouble to past landlords.
Make All Decisions Without Discrimination
As you might expect, personal prejudice can easily creep into one’s screening process. For this reason, it is best to find ways to correct for one’s own bias.
Give different “red flags” and different favorable marks a “point value,” basing it as much as possible on what has created successful renter experiences in the past.
Make sure that identity markers like ethnicity, age, or gender are not becoming factors in your process. Not only is it unethical to discriminate, but there are also laws that give legal recourse to applicants who feel they were rejected from a rental application because of unfair bias.
Want Tenant Screening Expertise? Hire a Property Management Company
Does tenant screening make you nervous? Property management companies are tenant screening experts, stringently avoiding discrimination while catching warning signs of potentially problematic tenant behaviors.
Work with a reputable Dallas Property Management company to find the right tenants for your property and rest assured that they have been properly vetted.
Ready to get to know Uptown Dallas Properties and screen for the perfect tenants? Contact us today for a free consultation. Click the link below to find out how we can help you grow your investment.