Finding the right tenant can be one of the most challenging (and rewarding) aspects of rental property management. It’s a tedious process that takes up a lot of time and can leave you feeling quite overwhelmed. It can be difficult, even for experienced property management companies, which is why we have processes put into place to make things go as smoothly as possible. The most pertinent part of those processes is tenant screening.
What Goes Into Tenant Screening?
There is a surprising amount of landlords that don’t take tenant screening as seriously as they ought to. Getting personal background information from your tenants is essential in managing a property. It ensures that you have found a person who will be able to take care of your property, pay rent on time, won’t leave you in debt, and won’t put you or your property at risk.
The personal background information that you need from a prospective tenant includes a:
- Background check
- Record of personal history
- Record of criminal history
Each one of these helps tell the story of your tenant and gives you a great idea of what having them as a tenant will be like.
Telling a Story with Background Checks
If you ever wanted to know what your prospective tenant is like with finances, their credit history will be able to tell you. A credit check takes a thorough look at their financial situation and their credit history and goes back at least seven years. It will be able to tell you if they have ever been sent to collections, what kind of debts they may have, and if they pay their bills on time.
Running a criminal history background check is important and can help to keep you and your neighbors safe. It’s important to remember that not all criminal convictions should be judged the same way. You want to use this check to look for patterns and any warning signs that are too big to ignore. This step is crucial in protecting yourself, your property, and your neighbors from any possible risk.
- Rhino Tip: You should also consider running an eviction check on your tenant. This will help you get to know if they have ever been evicted from a rental before and why.
Get to Know Your Tenant
Background checks are vital, but you will also need to know some more simple details about your prospective tenant. Ask them for personal references as well as information about their previous landlords. You need to know their history so you can make sure that they are the right fit for your property.
You’ll also need to make sure that they make enough money to pay rent. The easiest way to do this is by getting their job history and then figuring out their income to rent ratio by checking that 30 percent of their annual income can cover a year of rent.
Tenant screening is an incredibly important step in the rental management process. It can be a long process but it is absolutely worth it in the end. Not ready or able to handle it on your own? Let Rhino Property Management help!