When you have invested your time and money into a property, it’s no wonder that you want everything
to be properly maintained. Apart from reasonable wear and tear, a dwelling should be kept in decent
condition with each new tenant. Although you may have a few standard practices in place to screen
your tenants, it never hurts to learn new ways to ensure that you are placing the best tenants for your
rental. Here are a few tips on how to screen for the perfect tenant.
Treat Everyone Fairly
The Federal Fair Housing Act strictly prohibits discrimination of any kind based on race, sex, nationalorigin, religion, familial status, or a disability. You will have to treat everyone fairly based on thesecriterions when screening for your tenant. Keep in mind that your state may have additional laws toadhere to regarding this matter.
Look for Stability
The best tenants are those who maintain stability. Ideally, you will want a tenant who will stay put in your property to ensure a steady stream of income. Does this tenant have staying power? Look for things like rental and employment history to determine how stable your potential tenant truly is. Do they switch jobs often? Does this person move from place to place? Chances are they will do the same soon if they move into your rental.
It’s important to make sure that you run a thorough criminal check on any potential tenants. To do a criminal background check, you will need the full legal name and date of birth. The tricky thing about criminal background checks is that there is no nationwide database of criminal records. This is where a rental management company can come in handy to handle the tough leg work and get you the criminal
records you need.
Unless you are a gambler and feel like taking a risk, it’s best to choose a tenant with good credit. Run a credit check to see if this person pays their bills on time. Rent is typically the most expensive bill a person can have so if the potential can’t pay smaller bills on time, will they be able to pay your rental fee? When looking at the credit report, keep an eye out for prior evictions, judgements, and bankruptcies. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about any of your findings to get more information.
Trust Your Gut
Some people are very good talkers. With the “gift of gab”, it can be easy for a potential tenant to explain away the flaws in their history. Although some people genuinely have a rough patch here and there, a consistent pattern of less than perfect history can mean that this is not the best tenant for your