Screening tenants fully and carefully is one of the most important parts of renting out a property. Whether you’re managing on your own or looking for a professional property manager to handle the screening and leasing process for you, there are several things that need to be considered during the application process.
RentSimpli is a full-service, residential property management company serving San Diego and Riverside Counties, including a specialty focus in the Temecula Valley and Murrieta areas. We take tenant screening very seriously, and only the most qualified tenants are approved.
During the screening process, it’s important to focus on background checks, credit checks, income and employment verifications, and a review of past rental history.
Credit and Background Checks
You want a tenant with good credit, a record of paying bills on time, and a history of meeting financial obligations. Some of the most important things to look for in a credit report include whether housing payments have been made on time and if there are any judgments or outstanding debts owed to other landlords, property managers, or apartment communities. You will want to be careful of any tenants who have been evicted in the past, so be sure to check nationwide eviction records.
A nationwide background check is also necessary. You don’t want to rent your home to anyone with a history of violent convictions or drug activity.
Income and Employment Standards
You need to establish some standards for income when you’re screening tenants. At RentSimpli, we require all applicants earn a verifiable and consistent monthly net income of three times the amount of rent. To verify that income, ask for the two most recent pay stubs for W2 workers or the two most recent yearly tax returns for self-employed individuals.
It’s important that your tenant earns enough money to pay your rent. One of the best ways to avoid eviction in the future is by knowing that your tenants earn enough money to cover the cost of housing and other living expenses.
Evaluating Rental History
The best way to understand your prospective tenant’s rental history is by talking to their current and former landlords. Make sure your application asks for contact information and grants you permission to contact those landlords. Verify that you’re talking to the property owner or manager; tenants with something to hide may try to provide the name and phone number of a friend. Once you know you’re talking to the right party, ask if the tenant paid rent on time while living there, if they took care of the home, and if they followed the terms of your lease agreement. Always ask the landlord if they’d be willing to rent to that tenant again.
As you’re screening your tenants thoroughly, it’s important that you comply with all the federal, state, and local fair housing and discrimination laws. Make sure you are fair and consistent, and always document your process.
If you have any questions about how to effectively screen a prospective tenant for your rental property, please contact us at RentSimpli.