As a property manager, you don’t want a “bad” renter—someone who is late on payments, tears up the floorboards, or has bad credit. This type of renter can lead to increased turnover, costly maintenance repairs, and eviction headaches. You want “good” renters, and this is where the important tenant screening process comes into play. But the process can be a daunting and time-consuming one, and if you’re not careful, a problem renter can slip through the cracks.
Here are three simple tips for identifying and selecting only the highest-quality renters:
Know the difference between a “good” and “bad” renter:
In general, there are inherent qualities that a high-quality renter possesses and ones that a troublemaking renter exhibits. Once you have completed a thorough credit and background check and contacted previous employers, landlords, and references, take a detailed look at the results. Ask yourself questions like:
Did he or she have issues making payments at prior residences?
Was he or she ever in trouble with the law?
Does the prospective renter have a history of tardiness at work?
Does the person have a history of being irresponsible?
Why did they leave their prior residence?
You have a duty to your other residents and your business to be aware of any potential issues. Know what you’re getting into with people who have a spotty history, questionable credit, or a criminal record.
Trust your gut:
During the interview process, what is the first impression you get? If an applicant is rude or disrespectful, chances are the person will be an issue for you down the road. A renter who can’t respect his or her property manager will, most likely, have trouble respecting the property. Ask a lot of questions during the initial meeting, and see if his or her answers match up with the answers you get during the references and background check. If he or she is dishonest, you might be taking a risk.
It’s important to remember that when you are selecting renters, be consistent in your decision-making process.
Consider technology to help with tenant screening:
The entire screening process can be time consuming, especially when you’re managing a lot of turnover. Consider an online tenant screening service. It can be as simple as clicking a “screen now” button for your renter and having screening results displayed in a clean report. Sometimes information is difficult to get or resources are scarce, so property management software with built-in screening helps ease the burden. If you can cut down on the time it takes to screen your applicants, you can spend more time on marketing your property.
It can be tough to find great residents, but it’s even tougher to deal with problem renters later on, so taking the extra steps for thorough tenant screening is worth it. In the end, you’ll decrease turnover with quality renters and build a respectable reputation for your property.