Screening the tenant for peace of mind

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Having tenants can either be a really good help to one’s financial situation or a real cause of a headache. This is why screening a potential tenant is highly recommended.

There are different ways to screen a tenant and the landlord can freely choose how to do it. Screening the tenant can include many things such as finding out their credit score, any delinquencies, late bill payments, and bankruptcy.

Other things you need to consider and check while screening your would-be tenants:

    • Ask if they have pets
    • Are there any instances of delayed rent payment?
    • Are they making lots of repair requests?
    • Check their W2’s
    • Request for 2 pay stubs and check if the income is greater than three times of the rent amount
    • Request for 2 good references
    • Check their criminal background
    • Are there any past evictions?
    • Why they are moving?
    • Determine the number of would-be occupants.
  • Are your applicants polite or not?

The Application Process

To get the best prospective tenant, the screening process must be thorough and meticulous. As a landlord, the first crucial step is to ask for an application.

A state law in Denver recognizes a non-refundable application fee that’s different from the actual security deposit.  The application can be made by the landlord, but it is also available in the closest real estate association. It should contain precise information the prospective tenant’s financial background and capabilities.

This should also include details about his current employment and estimate, if not accurate net income. This is to make sure that the tenant will be capable of paying the rent as well as his cost of living. It should also be clear that any background checks, reports of criminal history and other relevant information are open for discussion with the tenant.

If the tenant has pets, it’s a good idea to ask if they are used to living in a decent home, otherwise, they might just be the cause for wreckage of the whole place.

Personal references are also a good source of information about the inquirer, so it’s advisable to ask for at least three.

Performing Credit Check

The next effective way to screen a tenant is by running a credit check. The cost of running a credit check may be obliged to the landlord or to the tenant. This may depend upon the laws of the state and thereby vary.A credit check is able to display credit information about the potential tenants and can even secure credit information from 7-10 years back. You may refer to his credit history and check if he was able to deliver payment on time or is a regular late-payment debtor.

One of the vital information displayed in a credit score is the person’s current credits that he’s paying for.  Bad signs may be heaps of loans and credit card debts. The results of the background check may be enough to tell if a prospective tenant will have trouble keeping up with his rent payments.

Contacting Previous Landlords

The most relevant background check that a landlord can run is by securing an inquirer’s records with his past landlords.

A tenant is most likely to not declare any bad histories. He may also refrain from stating any information accompanied with this. It is also possible that the personal references in the application are close friends and relatives that are already set up with the idea of any potential interview in regard to the tenant. So, a face-to-face interview may be an insufficient source of info in gauging whether the tenant will comply with the payment terms.

The next dependable action is to hire someone who can run the background check for you. There are several companies that offer competitive rates and it isn’t hard to reach out to their services. Though in Denver, landlords aren’t allowed to run a background check without a signed consent from the applicant. Legalities like these are best discussed with your prospective tenant first.

Getting Credible Information

It would be easier if the tenant’s previous landlords have been properly declared. In this case running a background check would be much easier.

There would be no need to hire professional investigative help and one can easily ask the previous landlord questions about their former tenant. Relevant questions could be incidents or activities that caused nuisance, delinquent acts or standing rent payments.

Any past evictions may also be identified along with events that may have caused the tenant to move and relocate. This can also be a credible source of information if the prospective tenant has had a good record with the previous landlords.

Are there any other tenant screening procedures that have worked for you? What are they and how did they manage to make the screening process easier?

Share This