4 Tenant Screening Tips Every Landlord Should Know

4 Tenant Screening Tips Every Landlord Should Know

As a new landlord, you have plenty of responsibilities to take care of. From property maintenance to tenant screening, you have your work cut out for you.

You need to find tenants if you want a successful property investment, but how do you know that you're finding the best fits? We're here to offer some tenant screening tips to help.

Keep reading to learn more.

1. Pre-Screening Is Key

Pre-screening is the first step of the tenant-screening process, and it happens before you ever get your first rental application. When you pre-screen, you're warding off and attracting the right tenants for your building.

Pre-screening requires a good rental listing. This is where you put your rental requirements, like criminal background checks, income requirements, and more.

When potential tenants see these things, they'll screen themselves. Tenants who don't meet those requirements won't bother to apply. 

2. Rental History: What Matters?

Most landlords choose to check a potential tenant's rental history. This is to see whether or not the tenant has had any prior evictions and how long they've been at their current residence. 

Be careful when you're checking their rental history. If someone has evictions in their history, consider talking to them before making your decision. If they only have one previous landlord (or no previous landlords), it's likely that they're young or that they've had other secure housing, and this shouldn't discourage you from accepting them. 

3. Criminal Background Checks

Running a criminal background check on a potential tenant is a good idea. You're looking for serious crimes, such as violent crimes or sex offenses (especially if you're in a vulnerable area, like near a school). 

Keep in mind that there may be regulations about whether or not you're able to deny prospective tenants based on their criminal history. 

You must consider prospective tenants on a case-by-case basis and make your decision based on the specific tenant, not based on the fact that they have a criminal history alone.

4. Income and Ability to Pay

This is often the most important thing when it comes to accepting a tenant's rental application. The tenant screening process isn't complete without income verification and a credit check. 

As with everything else, it's important for you to use your best judgment. Keep in mind that credit isn't everything, especially for younger tenants who may not have had the time to build up a strong credit history. 

When it comes to income, make sure that you're not just focusing on standard paystubs as proof of income. Many people partake in "gig economy" or otherwise work for themselves. Consider accepting other forms of proof, such as bank statements, when you're asking for proof that the prospective tenant can pay. 

You don't want to miss out on a tenant just because their income proof is different. 

The Tenant Screening Process Is Crucial

Use these tips next time you're going through the tenant screening process. Remember, all tenant applications are different. You need to use your best judgment if you want to find the perfect tenants for your rental property.

Tenant screening is a lot of work. Why not have someone else take on that responsibility for you? At HomeRiver Group, our experienced property management team wants to help. Reach out to us so we can start working together today.

Blog Home