When you are selecting the tenants that will live in your property, you want to make sure you are making a choice that is good for the long term. Tenant Screening is vitally important in order to protect yourself and your property. There are three particular things to keep in mind.
1. Criminal background checks. Make sure your tenants understand before they move in that you are not going to allow any criminal activity on your property. At Blackbird Realty and Management, we use a crime-free addendum to our applications and leases that outlines this as we go through the tenant selection process. We always perform criminal background checks on our potential tenants. This is an important step that tells you what kind of person is applying. Criminals are not a protected class. Limiting their ability to live in your house is a business decision, not based upon discrimination of any kind.
2. Verify employment. All prospective tenants should have a job and enough income to cover the rent. If a potential tenant does not have a job, make sure he or she still has the ability to pay. We see a lot of tenants with no jobs who live off trust funds. This is one way to demonstrate their ability to pay without having a job. Bank statements might be a good way to prove they have enough money, and sometimes tenants will pay a full year of rent in advance. This is an ideal tenant, especially if you get the money ahead of time, but remember not to spend it all right away. Your tenants might decide to move out, and you will have to reimburse them some of that money.
3. Always verify past tenancy for at least two years. I always recommend that you don’t put a lot of stock in what you may hear from the current landlord. It’s possible that your potential renters could be the worst tenants around, but if the landlord wants to get rid of them, he might say they’re great. Talk to previous landlords who have no personal stake in getting them out of the property.
When it comes to screening for the best tenants, remember to investigate as best you can. Do thorough background checks and refuse to tolerate any criminal activity. These screening procedures will leave you better off in the long run. If you have any questions about how to screen for the best tenants, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Blackbird Realty and Management, where we are always happy to help.