7 Simple Ways to Improve Tenant Screening

by Chris on February 1, 2016

Choosing the best tenants is at the heart of a successful rental business. Here are some easy steps to improve tenant screening and  shore up your rental profits:

1. Prequalify rental applicants on the phone before agreeing to meet for a property tour. Confirm sufficient income to pay rent, and if the applicant will abide by rules such as no-smoking or no-pets.

tenant screeningAlso, ask the applicant when they plan to move so you won’t waste time on someone who is will prolong a vacancy. Another important question: Is the applicant moving before their current lease term ends? That will offer insight into a potential dispute with the current landlord.

2. When meeting applicants for the first time, ask for a photo ID, preferably before you bring them to the property. Not only can this expose an applicant who is using someone else’s identity, but it’s important that the tenant’s legal name appear on the rental application, and subsequently the lease agreement.

3. Some landlords and property managers like to accept cash for a deposit or first month’s rent. However, cheques provide more information about the tenant. Note the name, address and phone on the cheque, along with the bank info. Is that same information listed on the rental application? If not, the applicant may be hiding something.

4. Be mindful of whether you are “customizing” your tenant screening requirements for an individual applicant. Are you cutting corners with tenants who seem “nice” while scrutinizing tenants who aren’t as gregarious? Not only is that potentially discriminatory, but it opens the door to savvy professional scammers who know just what to say to get what they want

5. It’s not enough to collect a rental application and run a credit report. Verify the information in the rental application, and compare that against any info in the credit report along with other notes you’ve made from previous conversations with this applicant. Often, it’s the discrepancies that reveal a bad tenant.

6. Warn applicants that you will require a tenant background check before they apply. Also, point out that false statements on the rental applicant may be constitute fraud. That serves to scare away scammers who can find easier targets.

7. When renting to multiple occupants, be aware that someone with a poor rental history may be hiding behind the good reputation or credit of others. Run tenant background checks on each proposed adult occupant. That doesn’t automatically mean you have to turn someone away, but at least you will have the information you need to assess your risks should the unqualified tenant be the only one remaining by the end of the lease term.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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