Applicant Interviews Made Easier

by Chris on June 13, 2011

Applicant  interviews don’t have to be difficult.  But to be successful,  landlords need to focus on their goal:  finding a tenant who will pay the rent and not leave the property a wreck. 

That boils down to just two things: tenant-worthiness and credit-worthiness. 

Tenant-Worthiness
Instantly, it becomes easier to know what to ask an applicant if you abandon any preconceptions you may have about who will make a good a tenant — whether it’s the notion that a professional will be quiet or that a couple will be cleaner than a family with kids. 

Those stereotypes are unreliable, and steal your focus away from the individual applicant’s rental history.

Tenant worthiness means the tenant will behave in a way that is consistent with the rules for your property.

Interview questions need to focus on collecting information on the applicant’s rental history.  Does this sound like someone who can follow your rules? 

One easy way to test tenant-worthiness is to review with the applicant the house rules for the property.  While you are doing this, note their reactions.  A quiet tenant will likely be relieved that you enforce noise curfews.

Next, verify the information.  Order an eviction report and  a criminal background check.  Then, speak with the previous landlord to confirm tenant-worthiness.

Credit Worthiness
A landlord has to ascertain that the applicant has enough income to pay the rent.  In addition, the applicant must demonstrate they are financially responsible. Even the wealthiest tenant can be burdened with too much debt, or suffer from bad credit, a sign that they may leave owing rent. 

Running a tenant credit report is the easiest way to discover if an applicant is not credit-worthy.

Verify employment sources and make sure you have banking information.

It is important to note that you should ask the applicant to complete the rental application before you conduct an interview.

Remember to run tenant background reports on every applicant, no matter what your impression of the person may be. 

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.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Nancy McGuire June 16, 2011 at 7:11 am

I am sure you received questions continually. This message is to say that we appreciate the information you send to us on a regular basis and that we DO use your recommendations and processes. We manage about a hundred units and find your checks and suggestions to be invaluable.

Nancy McGuire, Broker.

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