CategoriesRental Property

The Ultimate Tenant Screening Checklist

tenant screening

The US rental apartment industry is worth a staggering $169.5 billion and shows an upward trajectory. Although the US rental market is booming, it takes a lot to run a successful rental and make a killing in the industry. 

Part of running a successful rental involves getting the right tenants for your apartment through comprehensive tenant screening. Tenant screening allows you to rummage through potential tenants to find the best fit for your premises. It’s the most certain way to separate the chaff from the wheat and find the best tenants to grace your apartments.

That said, not too many landlords are willing to screen their tenants, fearing that it may scare away potential tenants. While that may be true, you’re better off with a few decent tenants than a house full of rowdy ones. This begs the question, what’s the best way to screen tenants?

Well, join us today as we look into the ultimate tenant screening for all types of landlords.

Is Tenant Screening Really Necessary?

Most landlords, and tenants alike, would willingly skip tenant screening without a second thought. However, not screening our potential tenants before accepting them may haunt you much later. The type of tenants you accept into your premises may make or break your investment.

The wrong tenants are likely to:

  • Damage your property leading to costly repairs
  • Default on rent payment and lead to massive losses
  • Become squatters and make you stress over eviction costs and other unnecessary hassles

These are just a few reasons why you need to screen your tenants before accepting them into your property.  An elaborate tenant screening process ensures you find suitable tenants for your apartment and get maximum returns on your real estate investment.

Creating the Perfect Tenant Screening Checklist

Before creating the ultimate tenant checklist, you first have to form a picture of your ideal tenant. This will help you create a multi-faceted checklist for finding the best tenants in your locality. This checklist should cover who the tenant is, what they do, and how much they make.

Your tenant screening checklist should contain:

Tenant Identification and Verification 

The first thing you should have on your tenant screening checklist is tenant identification and verification. You need to ensure that the tenant holds a valid identification and is recognized by the federal government. 

Take steps to ensure the bandits actually match with what’s on their identification. Check their address history on their credit reports to confirms whether they’re telling the truth. Also, consider calling their employer to determine whether they’re honest about their current occupation and actual earnings.

Credit Score Checks

That’s right; it’s also important to pull a full credit check on the tenant in question. Check for issues like defaulting incidences, bankruptcies, and other negative scores on their credit reports. You certainly don’t want to end up with tenants that default on their rent.

Do the math on what they have leftover after clearing all debts and obligations. Is the amount enough to cover the rent and other expenses? If not, you’re better off not having the individual as your tenant. 

Criminal Background Checks 

The last thing you want is to accept a convicted felon into your apartments. Although most felons may avow to have changed their ways, you can never be too sure. That’s why it’s important to check whether the applicant appears in any state and national criminal records.

However, some landlords are receptive to ex-convicts, and it depends on you. Still, conducting a criminal record check is never a bad idea. Remember, doing so is looking out for the safety of your investment and other tenants in your property.

Eviction Reports

Previous eviction reports will tell you a lot about the individual’s bearing and commitment to paying rent. Ask the prospective tenant for their rental history so you can talk to their previous landlords. Once you’re in contact with the landlords, you can ask them:

  • Whether the applicant in question paid rent on time
  • The state the applicant left  the house when they moved out
  • Whether they would rent to the individual again
  • Whether the individual has any eviction reports and why they have them

Talking to previous landlords will shed a lot of light and the type of tenant you’re working with. Don’t be afraid to ask as much as you want until you’re fully satisfied. Most landlords or property managers would be happy to answer your questions.

Questions You Should Always Ask Potential Tenants

You can think of the above as preliminary careening. To make sure you check all the boxes, you’ll have to follow the above with a series of questions. Some of these questions include:

Logistical Questions

These are questions concerning the tenants’ actual move into your premises. They’ll help you organize yourself and give insight into the timeline and planning of the move. These questions are important because they let you know whether the potential tenant is committed to moving.

Some logistical questions include:

  • When do you plan to move out of your current home
  • When do you plan to move in
  • What are you looking for in a new home
  • When is your preferred moving time

These are a few crucial logistical questions you should ask any tenant before allowing them into your apartments.

Behavioral Questions

These are questions concerning the tenants’ general behavior and whether they can fit into your community. Some behavioral questions you should ask include:-

  • Do you or do you live with anyone who smokes
  • Do you have any problems with HOA rules
  • Do you have frequent overnight guests
  • Do you work at odd hours

The above questions will let you know whether accepting the individual will be disruptive to other tenants. It lets you know whether the neighbors are a perfect fit for the community.

Proper Tenant Screening for Perfect Tenants

Landing the best tenants requires a thorough tenant screening process. The information above is all you need to create the ultimate tenant screening checklist for your apartments. Just don’t forget to ask the right questions too for the best results.

Feel free to contact us today if you need any help managing your properties. We’ll help take the load off.