Choosing the right tenant for your property can be tricky business. First and foremost, you want renters that are a good fit with you and your property. But, how do you make sure you end up with a good fit, while protecting yourself at the same time? In short, screening, screening, screening! Many of the suggestions we give you in the post below can be covered by Worry Free Tenant, a renter screening website, at no charge to you! Daunting though the list may be, you can have most of it taken care of for you with very little effort on your part. Here are our best tips for finding those diamonds in the rough.
Attention to Detail
Verifying a prospective renter’s age and identity is a great first step. Once they’ve filled out the necessary information on WFT’s screening website, you’ll know for sure who you’re dealing with and that they are not a minor. When meeting and talking with a prospective renter, a great opening question to ask is, why are you moving? The answer to this question can give you good insight into what kind of tenant they really are.
While it’s not bad to rent to someone who has never rented before (everyone has to start somewhere!), some good references can go a long way in showing you the dependability of the applicant. WFT will gather information from past and present landlords to giving you insight into the potential renter’s rental history.
A good rule of thumb to follow is that income should be at least three times the amount of the cost of renting. WFT can provide you with proof that your applicant is making enough money, giving you peace of mind, by verifying employment and income. It’s important to also make sure that they will be able to pay the upfront costs of moving in. Being clear about those costs with your potential tenant will allow both of you to know, for sure, if they can afford to rent from you and will hopefully help them to avoid any potential problems with paying rent down the road.
Background and credit checks
Have your applicants go to www.worryfreetenant.com first, so that those background and credit checks can be done up front. Some renters may get freaked out at the prospect of a background or credit check, but it’s very important, as a landlord, to have the full spectrum of information available to you before renting to someone. A simple policy to follow is: no background check, no keys.
Knowledge is power
Knowing Fair Housing Laws and your local landlord tenant codes, as well as local requirements is essential to having a good relationship with your tenants. These guidelines protect you both and give even footing for your relationship. Learn why this is important here!
You may have some specific preferences for your rental properties, and it is good to consider the applicant’s lifestyle against those. While you are permitted to turn down applicants for many reasons, always be careful to follow the Fair Housing guidelines! You should also consider whether or not the applicant has pets and if there will be an additional fee (we DO recommend this in accordance with the law!) for them to pay up front or not.
Protect yourself and your rental income by being fair, assertive, and clear about expectations and screenings with your potential renters.
Get onto www.worryfreetenant.com and get those background checks, rental history, and income verifications done for you! When you are turning down renters that aren’t a good fit, landlords are REQUIRED to send a denial letter, called an Adverse Action Letter. (Click the link to download!) When you’ve found the right tenant, make sure that everything is in black and white and there is no confusion before they sign the lease agreement. Good luck and happy leasing!