The difficulty of being a landlord comes in the gamble of new tenants. Their application may appear solid at first glance and all meetings have been pleasant interactions. Then, before landlords realize it, they are destroying property, disturbing neighbors, and are late on their rent. Performing proper tenant screening will help prevent bad eggs from getting in the building.
The process of tenant screening should fully evaluate prospective tenants. It is to decide if the tenant is likely to fulfill the terms in their lease or rental agreement while taking care of the rental property. The final decision comes down to full approval of a tenant, conditional approval such as requiring a cosigner, or denying a tenant entirely.
There are certain qualities landlords need to be on the lookout for in a great future tenant. First, they need to be willing to pay rent with the condition their income exceeds at least three times the monthly rent. Without reliable payment, eviction occurs which could give landlords thousands of dollars in legal fees.
Not only do tenants need to make enough to pay rent, they also need to be willing to pay on time. Some landlords see late rent as a benefit for the income they get from late fees. However, a tenant who pays late may stop paying completely. It is stressful when rent does not come in. This can be avoided by renting to tenants with a solid history of paying on time.
A tenant's job must be stable and long term. If they switch jobs often, or have long periods of unemployment, that could equal long periods of missed rent. A tenant must also be clean with good housekeeping skills. Since tenants will leave the complex one day, they need to be able to clean and orderly day to day, along with the ability to take good care of the rental property.
A tenant with an extreme criminal history should not be discriminated against, yet landlords also need to cautious. If possible, get in contact with a parole officer if crimes were recent. If they occurred many years ago with no known incidents since then, they are safe to approve in that aspect.
Drugs are a complete tenant deal breaker. Drug use will cause faulty payments, damage to property, and begin other illicit activities on the property, giving the landlord an unwanted reputation. Any illegal activities cause only stress and expense.
When screening tenants, consider how much stress they may cause in the future. If they are high maintenance and constantly demand the landlord's time and attention, they are probably not worth approving. These kind of tenants will cause the landlord problems. Only approve these tenants if finding other quality tenants has been difficult.
Tenants should be given a few minimum requirements they must meet in order to be applicable. These standards need to be placed in the ad which advertises rental availability. They can also be discusses in a pre-screening phone interview. It is imperative that all landlords perform a phone interview before showing the property. This saves time with false applications.
On the phone, verify the tenant makes three times the amount of monthly rent. This exact number for income will help filter out tenants who believe they can afford rent but actually cannot. A tenant must have references from past landlords. References from personal friends or family are a red flag on an application.
A tenant should not have been evicted in the recent past. If they have, they need to be denied approval. Criminal or drug activity in their backgrounds is another red flag that needs to be thoughtfully considered by a landlord. People may change their behavior, but the general rule is that behavior had to be at least two year prior with no signs of incident since then.