A school teacher turned landlord is one the latest to share her nightmare tenant story. She’s been trying to evict her tenant after numerous police calls and neighborhood complaints. Just hauling away all of the abandoned junk could cost $9,000, according to a news report.
The landlord says the tenant was referred by a neighbor, and that the man seemed polite. So, how did it end this way?
While there is no way to avoid every bad actor, it is possible to reduce the chances of a tenancy that deteriorates into income loss. Here are some strategies that can help:
Use the Lease Agreement to Screen Tenants
A written lease agreement is central to managing properties, but when used properly, it also can be helpful in tenant screening.
Highlight lease requirements when prequalifying applicants. Eliminating unqualified applicants early in the process reduces the risks and allows more time for vetting the right prospect.
Discussing the lease agreement with rental applicants can expose potential issues before it’s too late. For instance, an applicant who shows little or no interest in the lease may not be willing to honor it. What’s more, that tenant may not remember what’s in it. The lease is more than an enforcement tool. It is a way to make the tenant behave. Cooperation is key. And that requires both knowledge of the rules and a willingness to comply.
After verifying the rental application and running a tenant background check, provide the Lease Agreement along with the Notice to Tenant, which explains that rent payment history and property damage will be reported to a major credit bureau. The Notice makes it clear that a tenant will need to follow the lease provisions or possibly face a bad credit report — something that will follow the tenant and could make it harder to get into the next rental. To sign up to report rent payment history, visit TVS affiliate website LandlordCreditBureau.com, or simply log in at TVS and select Report Rent Payments.
Throughout the leasing process, it is best to meet face-to-face with the applicant and to go over the terms of the Lease Agreement and Notice to Tenant. After explaining terms and potential consequences for failing to pay rent or damaging the property, ask the applicant if they are willing to proceed and accept the responsibilities of the lease agreement and notice. That buy-in will increase the likelihood that the tenant will stay on track.
Encourage the Tenant to Review the Lease and Notice to Tenant
Don’t rush the leasing process. Having a signed lease in the file does little to ensure a cooperative tenant. Encourage the tenant to take the time to read through the Lease Agreement and Notice to Tenant or to have an attorney review these legal documents. Provide an opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns, preferably over the phone or in person.
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 is 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.