When your property listing starts attracting potential tenants, choosing one to live in your property seems like it should be a simple task. Read the applications, show them the properties, and pick the tenants who look like the best fit, right?
If you're not adding a thorough screening process into how you screen your tenants, you could choose the wrong tenant for your rental home. Your property is a significant asset. You keep it in excellent condition to provide a safe home for your renters. However, when bad tenants live in good rental properties, there's a good chance your property won't stay "good" for very long.
Set Your Criteria
Before you look through tenant applications, set the criteria you want for an ideal tenant. Make sure you follow Fair Housing laws to avoid discriminatory criteria and processes when screening tenants. However, with your preset criteria, you can measure every applicant against the same set of conditions for a fair selection process.
Make sure to consider allowing tenants with pets. Pet owners are often excellent tenants. When they find a safe home for their pet and a pet-friendly landlord, they tend to renew their lease. Keeping a tenant is a better way to make more long-term income than replacing a tenant at the end of every lease term.
Screening is the Only Way to Choose With Confidence
Reading an application and speaking with a potential renter is only part of the screening process. Without digging deeper into each applicant's background, you risk placing a bad tenant in your property. Terrible tenants often fail to pay the rent on time (or at all). They cause damage to rental properties and are tough to evict if they violate the terms of the lease agreement.
Every applicant should go through this process, including any tenants that you add to an existing lease. Make sure your screening process includes:
- Credit history
- Employment history and verification
- Income verification
- Criminal background
- Prior rental history and references
That can sound like a lot of work! In most cases, you can run these background checks in 24-48 hours—and it's worth the wait to avoid putting a bad tenant in your rental property.
Use a trusted partner that understands the laws for looking into private information, as well as storing and transferring that information to you. Your DFW home property management company follows the laws when screening tenants. We help you set your criteria, run background reports, and provide reports to you in ways that comply with privacy laws.