Tenant screening is one of the most important things you will do as a landlord. The tenant you place will have a huge impact on the rental experience you have. A good tenant who pays on time and takes care of the property will ensure steady rental income and leave you with peace of mind that your asset is in good shape. A bad tenant who is constantly late on rent, calling with endless complaints, and violating the lease in any number of ways will only cost you money and cause you stress.
Choosing a good tenant is important to your success as a landlord. There are a few important things you need to know when you’re screening tenants.
Collect an Application and Signatures
Your application should be thorough and completed by all residents who are 18 years of age or older. Any adult who will live in the home needs to be screened. Make sure your applicants fill it out completely, and include language that gives you permission to run credit and background checks. You can get a standard rental application from a local property manager.
Provide Written Rental Criteria
Before any potential tenants fill out an application, be sure to share your rental criteria. This should be a written list of the qualifications that are necessary to be approved for your property. It can include credit standards, income amounts, and anything else you want to include that doesn’t violate fair housing or other laws. This will tell tenants if they have a chance of being approved. If they know they won’t get approved, you’ll save yourself and them a lot of time.
Check Background, Credit, Employment, and Rental History
A thorough tenant screening will include background checks into several facets of your potential tenant’s life. You’ll want to look at criminal history as well as credit history. Make sure there aren’t any prior evictions or landlord debts or violent felony convictions. Call their employment references and verify the length of employment, current position, and salary that are listed on the application. Ask for pay stubs or bank statements so you know they can afford the rent. Talk to current and former landlords. Find out if they paid rent on time, damaged the property, had any pets, and gave proper notice before moving out. Ask them if they’d rent to that person again.
Desperate tenants will sometimes be dishonest on their applications. It’s your job to make sure you’re getting the full picture, and that you’re talking to actual landlords and employers.
If you need help properly screening your tenants, please contact us at Amstar Management. We would be happy to help with all of your Detroit property management needs.