This guest post was written and submitted by RocketLease.
Tenant screening is a very basic practice that most of us (hopefully all of us) know about and use already. However, it can be all too easy to skip over it when the times are tough and the rental market is slow.
No matter how many bites you are getting on your empty rental units, you should never rent to a tenant unless you screen them first. The reason for this is that tenant screening ensures that us, as landlords, will be paid rent on time and that our properties won’t be damaged. Below are three easy ways that you can beef up your tenant screening process to make it even more effective than it already is.
1. Use a solid application form. A poorly crafted rental application form just won’t cut it. You need to get the right information on an application to be able to thoroughly screen your tenants. You should include sections for information regarding their identity, employment history, rental history, and references. While it is easy to find a great standard rental application form online, you might also consider checking out RocketLease’s online rental applications.
2. Use a credit check service. The credit history portion of the tenant screening process is one of the most important. It is key to see that the tenant has good credit, isn’t in overwhelming debt, and that they have a history of making past payments on time. Using a credit check service – several can be found online at prices ranging from $15 – $30 (RocketLease offers a built-in one as well) – will ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date.
3. Look into references yourself. The absolute best way to get a feel for a tenant and how they will treat you and your rental unit is by looking into their references yourself. Call up their previous landlords and ask how they were as a renter. Be sure to call at least their two most previous landlords – sometimes the current landlord of a terrible tenant will give them a glowing review just to get rid of them more quickly.
So, there you have it! Three easy ways to beef up your tenant screening process. If you’re not already using these tips, then you should be. They don’t take much time to incorporate into the overall process and they could just save you from signing the lease with a tenant who doesn’t pay or damages your unit.