One of the most important jobs for your Dallas Fort Worth property management company is to screen tenants thoroughly and consistently. A good tenant will ensure you have a successful and pleasant investment experience. You’ll collect rent on time, receive help in caring for your property, and have an easy time communicating throughout the tenancy. A bad tenant, on the other hand, will cause stress and conflict. You’ll waste time and money on late rent notices, disputes, and potentially even property damage and eviction.
If you’re managing your own home and you’re not sure how to properly screen a tenant, we have some tips for you today.
Tenant Credit and Criminal Background Reports
Most landlords start with a simple credit check and a look at criminal history.
Make it a nationwide check, and check national eviction records as well because evictions don’t always show up on a credit report. When you’re evaluating credit, remember that a perfect credit score is desirable, but not always necessary. A lot of people are in debt, and medical bills and student loans can take decades to pay off. Instead of focusing on the score, evaluate whether they’re financially responsible. You don’t want to see any debts owed to former landlords or apartment buildings.
Verify an Applicant’s Employment and Income
You need a tenant who can afford to pay the rent. We recommend an income standard of at least three times the monthly rent. Verify that income through pay stubs or employer references. If an applicant who is self-employed, look for tax records as well as bank statements and a stable history of work. You need a tenant who can demonstrate he or she will be employed throughout the length of the tenancy.
Establish income standards before your prospective tenants even fill out an application. If they know what you’re looking for in terms of minimum income, they’ll know whether they qualify or not.
Conduct Rental Reference Checks
Talking to current and former landlords is an invaluable way to screen applicants. A previous landlord can tell you if a tenant paid on time, took care of the property, and followed the terms of the lease. Always ask for contact information, and do a little research to make sure you’re actually talking to former landlords or property managers. Tenants with a flawed rental history may try to give you the phone number of friends or family members.
Ask the landlord if rent was paid on time and if there were any issues with property damage. Ask about pets, and if there were any complaints from neighbors. Most importantly; ask if they would rent to that tenant again.
These are just a few of the things you can do to settle into a successful tenant screening process. Make sure you’re following all fair housing laws. These change frequently, and it’s important you pay attention and keep up. Make sure you’re screening tenants the same way, and document your process.
To have a positive investment experience, you need to place good tenants. If you’d some help with this or anything related to Dallas Fort Worth property management, please don’t hesitate to contact our team at Assign Property Management.