Screening prospective tenants is essential for landlords and property managers to ensure they find responsible and reliable tenants for their rental property. The question becomes how to screen prospective tenants so you find the studs and not the duds. Speaking from personal experience, nothing worse than having a bad tenant. It took me time to develop the right processes to find the best tenants, especially with Chicago’s strict, pro-tenant laws. Below are some things you need to screen for your next tenant.
7 steps to follow when screening prospective tenants
- Request a rental application: Have all prospective tenants fill out a rental application that includes basic information such as their name, contact information, employment status, income, and rental history.
- Check their credit score: Obtain written permission from the tenant to run a credit check. This will give you an idea of their financial history, including any outstanding debts or past-due accounts. A good credit score is generally a sign of financial responsibility, while a low score or negative items on the report may indicate potential payment issues in the future.
- Verify employment and income: Contact the tenant’s employer to verify their employment status and income. Ensure they earn enough to afford the rent and other expenses associated with renting a property.
- Check rental history: Contact the tenant’s previous landlords to verify their rental history, including any late payments, damage to the property, or complaints from neighbors. This can provide insight into how the tenant has previously treated other rental properties.
- Conduct a background check: Consider conducting a criminal background check on prospective tenants to ensure they do not have a criminal history that could pose a safety risk to other tenants or the property.
- Interview the tenant: Meet with the tenant to ask about their rental history, employment, and personal life. This can help you better understand their personality and whether they would be a good fit for the property.
- Do a housing inspection: You want to know what their current rental environment looks like. If they don’t want to let you in because they are hoarders or have trashed their current residence, this is a huge red flag. Those who take the time to clean up before you visit show they care. You want tenants who care.
Following these steps, you can screen prospective tenants and find the best fit for your rental property.
Do you have more questions on how to screen prospective tenants?
Let us know how I can help you. With over a decade of experience between being a mortgage broker, realtor, and investor, I have reviewed countless credit reports, rental histories, and background checks. Having the right tenant in place makes all the difference in the world. If you need to help to screen prospective tenants, let’s talk. Contact me today for a free, no-strings consultation.