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Five Steps to Follow for Thorough Tenant Screening

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Five Steps to Follow for Thorough Tenant Screening

As a landlord, one of the primary ingredients to achieve rental property business success is finding the right tenants. It might seem like a daunting task. However, it is a necessary one. Too many landlords find themselves regretting hasty decisions about tenants, having not taken the process seriously. Taking shortcuts during this crucial step can have long-term consequences that they regret.

Rental property owners cannot afford to take tenant screening lightly. Instead, adopt a methodical approach to this step, applying preset criteria consistently. This will guarantee that they find the best possible renters who will stay long-term, pay their rent, not cause undue damage to a rental home, or become a neighborhood nuisance. Here are the steps to follow when screening potential tenants:

Current income and employment status

In Nashville qualified property managers work for local companies like Evernest, Bill Dorris and Associates, and Bryant Properties or larger American corporations, such as Greystar or Colliers International. Evernest prides itself on having a team of professional property management agents familiar with the Nashville rental market. It is well-established in Tennessee, with Nashville, Memphis, Murfreesboro, and Chattanooga offices. Evernest prioritizes letting its landlord clients rest easy knowing that their property is in good hands.

One of the first things a landlord should verify, according to experienced property managers, is a prospective tenant’s current income and employment status. They supply this information on their application form, but it must still be verified. Landlords can ask for paystubs as proof of income and contact the employer to confirm that the details supplied are correct. The applicant’s income should be 2-3 times more than the rental price.

During a conversation with an applicant’s employer, the landlord can also ask other questions, getting an overall picture of what type of person they are. The application form should stipulate that the landlord will follow this process, and a prospective tenant should give express permission. Landlords should consider an applicant’s refusal to permit contact with their employer as suspicious.

Credit score and history

A credit check gives landlords an overall picture of an applicant’s attitude toward financial responsibility. It also lets them determine whether a future tenant will afford their rent. A well-paid job means nothing if most of the disposable income pays off loans, leases, credit cards, and other debts. Landlords should have a clear picture of a prospective tenant’s financial situation to determine if they will manage their rental payment obligations.

A credit history is proof of the prospective tenant’s past financial behavior, a sound indicator of how the landlord can expect them to act in the future. Therefore, someone who seldom paid previous debts on time will likely perpetuate that habit. This poses a risk to the landlord, one that they must weigh carefully before taking that tenant on.

Previous landlords

During the application process, rental property owners should inform prospective tenants that they will contact previous landlords. They should also ask applicants why they left their last rental accommodation and whether they have ever faced eviction.

As mentioned before, past acts are a reliable indicator of future behavior. Therefore, a conversation with someone’s prior landlord can reveal interesting information that a landlord might otherwise never find. Previous landlords can offer insight into how the applicant behaved when living in a rental home. They can provide information about payment patterns, damages, and general demeanor. This is a way of determining whether a prospective tenant has been evicted from a rental property before.

Lifestyle choices and compatibility

A landlord should ensure that their prospective tenant’s lifestyle choices are compatible with their requirements. For example, a landlord might prefer to take on non-smoking tenants or forbid smoking indoors. Alternatively, they might insist that their tenants not have pets.

An application form should include questions about these lifestyle choices, and the contract should also make stipulations about them. Landlords who can prove that a tenant was dishonest on their application form have grounds to seek an early lease termination. However, if they do not ask questions during the application process, they will not know about these issues until it is too late.

First impressions

Landlords can get a lot of information about their potential tenants during the application process. This extends beyond what is included on their application form. A landlord can also gain insight into their behavior and look for red flags. Behavior such as not adhering to deadlines, vague answers to specific questions, or defensiveness can act as red flags.

Most landlords advise against accepting a prospective tenant’s application without meeting them in person. While someone might look perfect on paper, the landlord might change their mind after engaging with them. If a prospective tenant is disrespectful, rude, or arrogant, the landlord should think carefully about accepting their application. Both parties must maintain a cordial relationship with each other, and this will be challenging if they do not see eye to eye from the get-go.






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