Finding the right tenants for your property makes everything easier, not to mention profitable. The best tenants are the ones who pay rent on time, don’t damage your property, and are open to communication. However, the reality isn’t as easy as it seems because the perfect tenants are harder to find than you might think.
If you’re an experienced landlord, you might agree that tenant quality is the key aspect to great tenant management and a successful business. As such, you should start developing a system for screening the best candidates to avoid conflicts in the long run.
Although no method is fool-proof, there are some factors you can focus on that can give you better chances of picking the proper tenant for your rental.
What is Tenant Screening?
Tenant screening is one of the best tools you can use to pick the best potential tenant. Essentially, as a landlord, you can use this to make a smart choice and land on high-quality tenants who can take care of your property and pay the rent on time.
Screening tenants before signing a lease is a crucial step because it allows you to understand their background and circumstances before living in your property. One of the best tools in the market is Rentberry – a website you can use to get an instant screening report, which also comes with other factors, such as credit score and history, and a detailed criminal check to ensure there are no surprises in the future.
Additionally, according to DataFacts, tenant credit is based on a score that ranges from 350 to 800, meaning the higher the score, the better the potential tenant. The tool also helps you avoid eviction situations, and damages, and minimize cash flow problems. Since the rental market is expanding yearly, the quantity of tenants is also increasing daily. Reports show that landlords screen up to two candidates each time they need to fill their property.
5 Tips to Choose the Best Tenant
Aside from relying on tenant screening, your job as a landlord is to make extra checks yourself. That way, you can have a clearer idea of whether the potential tenant fits the criteria you’re looking for, and make a final decision.
We’re sharing our top five tips to make the process of finding the proper tenants easier and more convenient for you.
Set Rental Criteria
Before dwelling on the process of searching for new tenants, the first step is to set some criteria for your property. You can begin by asking yourself questions about whether your tenants need to have a certain amount of income to afford your rental or if you’ll allow pets on the property.
Some of the main points you can include in your checklist for tenant criteria may include the following:
- The tenant’s income is sufficient enough to afford your property
- Has a co-signor with a decent income
- The tenant has a history of paying rent when due on time
- The tenant is friendly, communicative, and easy to work with
- The tenant fits your requirements (smoking, pets, guests)
Although there are many factors to consider before accepting a tenant, the main thing you should focus on is their credit score. In the U.S., the tenants’ average score used to be 638 – a very positive score, which expanded landlords’ options.
Get to Know the Applicant In-Person
First impressions matter especially landlord-tenant ones. Once you’ve narrowed your list of applicants and it’s time to give them a virtual tour of the property, you must use that to your advantage to get to know your potential tenant.
This is a great time to ask them questions and learn more about who they are. Pay attention to whether they show up on time and if they meet your property requirements. The more you get to learn about them, the easier it’ll be to decide if you want them as a tenant.
While this is the perfect opportunity to find a long-term tenant, it’s essential to remember that you must follow some rules against discrimination, such as age, race, gender, sexuality, or disability. After all, this relationship requires your understanding as a human being too, not just as a landlord.
Collect Information Through Rental Applications
Although you can learn a lot about your potential tenant in your first in-person meeting, rental applications are an extra way of providing information about their personal background. These rental applications vary, but typically, they’ll involve years of residence history, employment history, and their previous renter’s contact information.
Some of the most common questions landlords tend to ask are:
- Have you ever been evicted?
- Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
- Have you ever declared bankruptcy?
- Do you smoke or keep any pets?
- Have you ever refused to pay rent?
Speak to Their Prior Landlords
If there’s one way you can find out about a potential tenant’s behavior is to speak to their prior landlords. You can reach out to them and ask them questions, such as:
- Did the tenant rent from you?
- Did the tenant pay the rent on time?
- Did the tenant take care of the property?
- Did the tenant leave the property in good order when they left?
- Was the tenant noisy or disruptive to other neighbors?
Analyze the Tenant’s Credit and Background Check
Going through someone’s credit report and background check may seem like a daunting task, but as a landlord, you’re looking to find the best suitable tenant for your property, so this should be worth it.
You can easily find out if the potential tenant has a good or bad history of payments and debts. Their financial information is essential because it helps you determine whether they can afford your rental price and if they’re likely to pay on time.
Also, their background check provides information as to whether they’ve had a criminal history you need to be cautious of. Depending on the state, you could be held responsible if you pick a tenant with a severe criminal history, so you must follow certain guidelines for that.