How to effectively screen tenants

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The most practical way of finding quality tenants for your Boise rental property is a comprehensive tenant screening procedure. Active tenant screening should be a continuous process that starts the moment prospects begin to inquire about your vacant rental property and goes on until a qualified applicant moves into your unit. If you are wondering how to identify the right residents for your rentals, here are the steps you should follow.

Visualize your perfect tenant

The first thing you should do is establish the kind of tenant that you want. For most landlords, that would be someone with a stable income, who has a history of paying their rent on time, takes excellent care of the property and gets along with other renters. It could also be a resident with good credit ratings, earns three times more than the rent price, drives a particular car model, and has lived in a similar house before. No matter how precise your definition might be, just go ahead and pen it down.

Start screening from the first point of contact

One exciting thing about rental properties is that you never know when you will meet your ideal tenant. It could be at the start, in the middle or towards the end of your vetting process. Hence, it is judicious to start screening the prospects from the time they begin making inquiries about the vacant house. It does not matter whether the interaction is via the phone, face to face or online, always have with you some set of questions that you can use to evaluate your audience.

The questions could include where the person currently stays, how much their current rent is, what is the reason for moving, when they plan to transfer, how long the person intends to stay in your unit, are they married, do they have pets and so on.

Examine the applicants when they are viewing the property

The first interaction should help you to eliminate some prospects, leaving you with those who you feel might satisfy your criteria of the ideal tenant. Invite the lucky ones for property viewing, so that you can get to learn more about them. When they come over, examine them to determine whether or not they meet your basic tenant requirements.

Some of the revealing signs you should look out for includes their physical appearance. Were they clean and presentable, or unkempt? Their personality. Was the person polite and courteous, or boisterous, arrogant and disrespectful? Was the prospect genuinely interested in the property or did they just seem to be passing the time?

Assess the candidates during the application filing

Naturally, the candidates who impress you during the viewing are the ones you should invite to fill the form. Since the purpose of the tenant application form is to capture critical decision-making data about the applicant, it is imperative that it contains the following essential parts.

i. The candidate’s personal data such as their full legal names, National ID number, driver’s license number, physical address, social security as well as telephone number and primary email.

ii. Past tenancy history. These sections should reveal details about the applicant’s background as a tenant. That includes names, emails, phone numbers and physical addresses of current and previous landlords, as well as the reason they vacated or intend to leave. Furthermore, the form should query whether the tenant has had any past evictions, broken leases or judgments.

iii. Their source of income. This section should request the applicant to reveal their source of revenue. Are they employed or self-employed, what is the name of the firm where they work, the nature of their business, his or her designation, and their monthly income?

iv. Permission to collect additional information about the candidate from other sources. The application should also include the Release of Information Signature, section, which will give you the applicant’s consent to gather more information about him or her from other sources.

Probe the application

After the candidates have filled and submitted their applications, you need to verify whether they gave you truthful information and who among them has responses that meet your ideal tenant standards. An efficient way for you to do the verification is by conducting background checks.

You should call the current and former landlords to find out about their relationship with the potential tenant. You should also call the prospective tenant’s employer or use their tax returns to verify their employment or income information. It is equally important for you to run a credit check to find out the applicant’s credit standing and history.

When it comes to the credit checks, be on the lookout for records of late payment charges, car repossessions, poor credit scores, unpaid loans and maxed out credit cards, which are signs of a potential rent defaulter.

Compare the information the client gave with your background check findings

After carrying out thorough background screening, you need to compare the information you get with what the candidate supplied on the application. This stage should help you disqualify all that does not match since the candidate might have deliberately left out or misrepresented some information. From here, it should be moderately easy for you to know who to invite into your Boise rental property.

Criminal Background Check

Another important aspect to verify is whether the applicant has any criminal records. One advantage of hiring a Boise property management company is that they generally have the resources to perform adequate criminal background checks and find out if the applicant is on any permanent register. These types of checks are not always accessible to the general public and therefore a good reason to outsource the screening phase to a property management firm. You can always chose to use a rental management company to perform your tenant screening phase and then manage the property on your own.

By following these steps you’ll be sure to have a much higher success rate when screening tenants for your rental property. It is important that you allow for a fair screening process and do not violate the Fair Housing Act.

If you would like professional aid in screening your tenants and managing your property in Boise or surrounding areas, we would be happy to talk with you!