Property Management Tenant Screening – How to Find the Right Tenant
As a property owner or manager, finding the right tenant is crucial for the success and profitability of your rental property. In this article, we will guide you through the process of tenant screening and provide valuable insights on how to find the best tenant for your property.
The Ideal Tenant:
Before diving into tenant screening, it’s important to understand what constitutes an ideal tenant. Ideally, you want a tenant who pays rent on time, takes care of the property, communicates effectively, and respects the terms of the lease agreement. An ideal tenant is financially responsible, has a good rental history, and possesses qualities that align with your property’s rules and regulations.
What Is a Bad Tenant?
A bad tenant, on the other hand, can cause a range of issues, including late or non-payment of rent, property damage, excessive noise complaints, and frequent lease violations. It’s important to identify red flags during the screening process to avoid potential problems in the future. Common warning signs of a bad tenant include a history of evictions, poor credit history, inconsistent employment, and negative references from previous landlords.
Finding the Right Tenant: The Importance of Tenant Screening
When it comes to renting out your property, selecting the right tenant is paramount. It’s not just about picking the first applicant or the one offering the highest rent; it’s about finding a responsible tenant who will treat your property with care. This is where tenant screening becomes crucial. By following these steps, you can effectively determine if an applicant is trustworthy and find the ideal tenant for your property.
Steps to Screen a Tenant:
Step 1: Application and Key Questions
Start by asking key questions on the rental application. Request detailed information about the applicant’s background, employment history, income, and references. This initial step provides a snapshot of the applicant’s qualifications and allows you to assess their eligibility. Here are a few questions, that you might want to ask during the application process:
- Have you ever filed for bankruptcy?
- Do you smoke?
- What is your credit score?
- How much is your gross monthly income?
- How many people will live in the property?
- How many adults and children will live on the property?
- Have you ever been evicted from another property?
- Do you have any How much do you pay per month in debt payments?
- Do you have pets?
- Are you able to pay one month’s rent and a security deposit?
- How many vehicles will you keep on the property?
Step 2: Collect Information and Consent
Gather all necessary documentation and ensure you have the applicant’s consent to conduct background and credit checks. This includes obtaining authorization for criminal history and credit inquiries, as permitted by law. This is what you need to ask:
- Date of birth
- Current address
- Current employer
- Phone number of the current employer
- Phone number of previous or current landlords
- Social security number (in some cases)
- 2-4 personal references
Step 3: Criminal and Credit History Checks
Perform comprehensive criminal and credit history checks on the applicants. Look for any red flags that may indicate potential issues or risks. This step helps you evaluate their trustworthiness and assess their ability to fulfill financial obligations.
Step 4: Rental History Verification
Contact the prospective tenant’s previous landlords to gather their rental history. Inquire about their payment history, adherence to lease agreements, and any previous issues. This step provides valuable insights into their behavior as tenants and their compatibility with your property.
Step 5: Reference Checks
Reach out to the references provided by the applicant, such as personal or professional contacts. Speaking with these references can provide additional perspectives on the applicant’s character, reliability, and suitability as a tenant.
Step 6: Review and Analysis
Review and analyze all the information collected throughout the screening process. Look for consistencies or discrepancies that may impact their eligibility as tenants. Take into account their rental history, creditworthiness, and references to assess their overall suitability.
Step 7: Interview Applicants
Schedule interviews with the most promising applicants. This allows you to gauge their personality, communication skills, and compatibility with your property. During the interview, ask questions about their rental preferences, expectations, and any concerns they may have.
Step 8: Make a Decision
After carefully reviewing all the gathered information and conducting interviews, it’s time to make a decision. Compare the applicants based on their qualifications, references, rental history, and overall impression. Select the tenant who best aligns with your criteria and whom you believe will be a responsible and reliable occupant.
What to Do If You Want to Reject Applicants:
If, after thorough screening, you determine that an applicant is not suitable for your property, it is essential to handle the rejection process tactfully and in compliance with fair housing laws. Provide a clear and polite explanation as to why their application was not approved, based on legitimate criteria such as unsatisfactory credit history or a failure to meet income requirements. Document the rejection process for legal purposes.
How can Rentancy help?
In the United Kingdom, there is a diverse range of bureaus available that specialize in conducting tenant screening, providing landlords and property owners with a variety of options to choose from for the professional processing of tenants.
Rentancy has an expert team of highly qualified bookkeeping and property professionals with collectively 50-years experience.
- Advice on setup and structuring of bookkeeping processes
- Help resolve balances in existing accounts
- A Balance scorecard of how well an agent is operating
Client Accounting Services:
- Daily bank reconciliations
- Rent collection
- Process contractor payments
- General accounts query handling
- Process landlord payments
- Producing and sending landlord statements
- Manage property expenses & invoices
- In-arrears chasing
- Monthly KPI reporting
- Revenue assurance
- Coordinating day-to-day maintenance
- Keeping up to date with ongoing compliances – GSC, EICR, EPC
- Arranging periodic inspections – carried out by 3rd party
- Working on tenancy contracts renewals
- Working on the end-of-tenancy contracts
- General query handling
- Legal notices
- Deposit returns
- Negotiate dilapidations
- Right to Rent Checks