In order to protect your property and ensure the safety of all your occupants, it is wise to screen new tenants carefully before allowing them to rent a unit. It isn’t always enough to go through the standard check-off list, either: after one bad experience, you will realize it is worth the time and effort to conduct a thorough tenant screening each and every time. You want to rent to those who are trustworthy and dependable so you can count on their rent payments and know they will be respectful of everyone in the building. Without a doubt, this will save you plenty of headaches later. At All County Denver Metro, we realize how tricky it can be to find responsible tenants, which is why we have provided a few tips to help you in the screening process.
Top Tenant Screening Tips
- Ask for References
If your potential tenants have several people who can vouch for them, you can rest assured knowing you will most likely have a similar positive experience. However, consider the source: it is very easy for someone to use a close friend as a reference. It is important to request the numbers of past employers, supervisors, and landlords only. Ask specific questions over the phone: how long have they known the person? Make sure the answers you receive match up with what your potential tenant has told you. Rather than ask vague, simplistic, or leading questions like “Do you think this person is reliable?”, ask if they can share examples of their experience with the individual (“Can you tell me about a time…?”). If you get a bad feeling, trust your instincts. You can never be too meticulous when it comes to tenant screening.
- Multiple Verification Methods
Each step of the way, you should have multiple ways of confirming an individual’s eligibility status. If you meet them and have a positive experience, take a quick look through their public social media profiles to make sure nothing contradicts this persona. After a potential tenant provides pay stubs, ask for a few bank statements as well. What about debts? The tenant screening process can take a quick turn for the worse if you don’t follow through on past payment history. Rather than taking a quick look at someone’s credit score, evaluate the type of debt the individual has; are they spending their money on essentials like transportation and education, or are they spending indiscriminately? Are they making timely, recurrent payments, or lagging behind? You will need to see them through several lenses in order to get a good idea of their character and make a decision.
- Pay Attention to Details
Small warning signs can be an indicator of a larger problem. Maybe an employer tells you a potential tenant is hard-working, but tends to arrive late. When you check their past payments, you notice a pattern of lateness as well. Then, when you arrange to meet in person, they arrive late. Although one of these instances could be forgivable when balanced against other positive attributes, when combined they present a troubling recurrence. When managing a tenant screening, consider making a visit to their home so you can ascertain how they take care of their living quarters. Maybe they are the perfect employee and have a great history of paying on time, but the inside of their home is filthy and neglected. Don’t forget that having a responsible tenant means having one that pays on time and takes care of your property.
- Treat Each Case Individually
Ultimately, there is no perfect tenant screening process. You can only do the best you can and try to prevent harmful situations in advance by learning as much as you can about your potential tenants. Don’t forget that the people you’re renting to are just that, people, and the best way to get a feel for their trustworthiness is to communicate openly, listen to them and pay attention to the evidence available to you. Each individual is different, and should be treated as such. Perhaps someone who has a questionable past shows proof of their improvement or recovery; move forward with compassion. If you have to decline an application, do so politely and with candor.
How All County Denver Metro Can Help
All County Denver Metro Property Management is here to help property owners have confidence in the quality of their tenants and the security of their property through knowledgeable and trustworthy property management services. From managing tenant relationships to lease enforcement, we look forward to working with you to see how your investment can be a long-term, stress-free asset. For a complimentary quote, call us today at (720) 575-6100.