Property Management Principles: Screen Your Tenants

Jul 30, 2019
Software For Screening Tenants

Some property managers cut corners when it comes to screening potential tenants. Don’t be one of them. Screening is a valuable tool you should be using to protect your properties, your income and your other tenants. There are many questions to ask a potential tenant – here are some of the most important ones.

Finding the right renter can be hard. No matter how a tenant may appear at first glance, nobody knows what you might uncover through the official screening process. You may not like what you see. Plus, an eviction after the lease is signed could turn into a court battle for you or the owner.

Not to mention, if you’re a property manager, your owner may wonder why you allowed the tenant to move in in the first place. That doesn’t bode well for the owner’s perception of your property management business.

Protect Your Ass(et)

You might uncover a host of issues during the screening process. The most important things for you to look at are the tenant’s employment history and their current income/employment. Protect the profitability of your asset.

Your property is your asset. Your tenant’s rent payments on your asset ensure your source of income. When your tenant can’t pay, your asset isn’t profitable. This means you need to run credit checks on potential tenants. Credit checks give insights into the tenant’s actual finances. These insights will protect your income, which in turn will ensure the profitability of your business.

Dig Deeper if Needed

Every owner or property manager wants to rent to tenants who’ll care for their spaces, not damage them. When there’s a question if a prospective tenant may cause damage to your property, ask the tenant for references from previous landlords.

You might want to look at whether the tenant has had any previous evictions. Asking for references from previous landlords can help you discover these. Unfortunately, prior evictions are an indicator of future evictions. Of course, you don’t want to appear judgmental. But proper care for your properties must come first.

Community Comes First

You’re caring not only for your properties but also caring for the communities surrounding your properties, whether that community is a single building or a neighborhood.

Given this sense of responsibility, there’s nothing wrong with running criminal background checks on any of your tenants. This will reveal any crimes your tenant has been convicted of, and it’ll help you determine whether this tenant is the one you want moving into your property and community.

A Necessary First Step Before Renting

To conclude, you want to run background checks on your tenants before they move in. You always want to check their income and employment. You want references from their previous landlords. And you want to run a criminal background check, regardless of how certain you may be about their potential.

Best practice is to institute this screening process across the board… for ALL tenants, regardless of first impressions. A first impression might be good, but it may not be the truth. And you certainly don’t want to have to evict somebody if that process can be avoided.