Tenant Screening 101

Forrest Gump famously said, “Life’s like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” This is also true in many walks of life, including tenant screening. Tenants are from all sorts of different backgrounds, and the ideal tenant for you may not be the ideal tenant for someone else. However, there are some qualities that most (if not all) landlords want to see in tenants. What are some of those qualities? We’ll cover that in this blog post today.

Tenant screening

What qualities should I look for in prospective tenants?

It is undisputed that all landlords want a tenant that can pay rent on time. Some signs of paying rent on time include a good credit score and proof of steady and reliable income. However, not all tenants are perfect and may have run into trouble paying the rent at least once for various reasons. Some may even have an eviction on their record, which makes it difficult for them to obtain a lease.

An eviction shouldn’t be a death sentence for most tenants, especially if they can explain their situation and if you’re willing to work with them and give them a second chance. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown many tenants out of work. You may come across a situation where a tenant was unable to pay rent due to no fault of their own. Credit checks and verification of income may not always tell the whole story, and it may be up to you to talk to each tenant to see what their situation is and if it’s improving.

You will also want tenants who keep the property clean and have a clean criminal record—you don’t want your property to become a crime scene or have a reputation in the neighborhood. You will also want communicative tenants who let you know if something is going on, such as if the property needs repairs. These are just some of the qualities you should look for when you are tenant screening, but ultimately it’s up to you to decide who rents out your property.

Tenant screening

What app do landlords use to check credit?

Many landlords use apps to check the credit of their prospective tenants when tenant screening. Some of those apps include RentSpree, RentPrep, and TransUnion SmartMove. Whether you own one property or multiple properties, these are some of the apps that you can use to help you find the right tenants.

Some of the services that are provided in these tenant screening apps include eviction history, criminal background checks, credit reports, and credit scores. As previously mentioned, these may not tell the whole story of your prospective tenants, and you may want to talk to your prospective tenants as part of the tenant screening process.

Tenant screening

Tenant Screening Questions

You might ask, “What questions do I want to ask my tenants as part of the tenant screening process?” You might be aware that some questions are completely out of bounds, such as race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, whether or not they have children, if they have been arrested, or if they have a disability. These are all protected under federal law. Certain states and localities may also have additional restrictions on tenant screening questions, so it is up to you to find out what those restrictions are depending on where your property is located.

What about the questions you can ask? You can ask if they have pets, why they are moving, what their monthly income is, and how many people will be living on the property. As you start to narrow down your tenant screening list, you can start asking questions about when they would like to move into your property. Ultimately, you want to find the best tenant for your property, and that can be done when your tenant screening experience is streamlined and simple.

How is your tenant screening experience? Would you like to make it more simple and streamlined for your potential tenants? Let us know in the comments below!

About the author, Anne-Marie McCormack

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