There are at least 1 million evictions every year in the US. 2.3 million Americans are forced to leave their home.
This is a problem for renters and landlords, but it can be prevented. Tenant screening lowers the chances and protects your property and other tenants.
This makes it a necessary step in the rental process, but many landlords don't do it because it can get complicated. Read on to learn 5 tenant screening mistakes to avoid to make the process a success.
1. Not Having a Rental Application
An application will help you find good tenants because it will narrow down your search. It includes prescreening questions that will save you time by making sure you only interview the best.
A few examples of what it might include are:
- Contact information
- Proof of income
- Time of moving
- Consent for background checks
Try to avoid applicants who want to move in longer than four weeks from the day they submit the application. It's also a red flag if they won't consent to background checks.
2. Not Doing Background, References, Employment, and Credit Checks
The tenant screening process can be long because it involves looking into several aspects of their history and character. Look into them all to keep from getting a tenant you don't want.
Look into their references. A credit check shows how well they've paid their bills in the past and provides a hint at how well they'll pay you rent. Look for:
- Late payments
- Unpaid debts
- Poor credit scores
Looking into a tenant's criminal record is important for protecting your property and current tenants. Be aware that certain laws prevent you from refusing to rent to tenants because of a criminal record.
3. Not Complying With Housing Laws
There are several tenant screening laws to be aware of. They prevent discrimination based on characteristics such as:
- Marital status
- Gender identity
Failing to comply with these laws is a major mistake that can leave you with severe legal and financial consequences. Read up on the requirements in your area and find a professional who can help you understand them.
4. Not Screening Co-Applicants
One of the hardest parts of tenant screenings comes when more than one tenant wants to move in. They'll both need to fill out an application, but it doesn't stop there.
A co-applicant can fail to contribute to rent or move out and force the other applicant to handle it alone. Prevent this with thorough background checks.
5. Not Outsourcing
Landlords who have trouble figuring out how to find tenants may feel overwhelmed at the idea of screening them. This is why only 45% of landlords manage their properties alone.
A property management company can handle the process for you. They may even offer a few tenant screening tips.
Where to Get Help With Tenant Screening
Tenant screening is one of the most important tasks for any landlord. It helps fill your property with safe applicants who'll pay rent on time.
Figuring out how to screen tenants means avoiding mistakes such as not making them fill out applications, not doing background checks, not following fair housing laws, or not screening co-applicants.
Badger Canyon Property Management can handle all aspects of managing your property. Contact us today.