As a property manager or landlord you have the difficult task of finding the right tenants. Your worst nightmare is to have a bad renter.
So, how do you minimize renting to someone that is irresponsible and negligent? Below are some do’s and don’ts that we have put together for you when conducting a tenant screening.
Do’s & Don’ts
Do conduct a tenant screening or background check always. This is one of the most important things you need to do as a property manager. If you wish to find a credible renter, then this step will give you insights to reaching that goal.
Don’t call prior landlords. Often times calling a previous landlord is not helpful since not much information is given. A positive review will always be given to protect them against retaliation.
Do get approval to run a tenant background check from your applicant. You want to abide all the rules and not break any laws.
Don’t forget to give your applicant a copy of their tenant background check report. If you deny them for credit reasons, then also make sure you abide by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) rules.
Do keep your tenant screening process consistent with every applicant. Always remember to have every applicant fill out their own form that is 18 years and older. You also want to be fair with all your applicants and not discriminate. Follow Fair Housing laws with every applicant. The criteria for one applicant should not be different from the other.
Don’t replace a tenant background check with a hand shake. Applicants will lie and make themselves look more credible by dressing nice. Just because they drive a nice car or speak well does not mean they pay their rent on time.
Do make sure your tenant background check includes criminal history. This is for the safety of the neighborhood.
Don’t ask your applicant if they have been arrested in the past. This might make you vulnerable to law suits if you reject an applicant prior to the tenant screening. Wait for the tenant background check to tell you if they have been convicted of a crime.
All in all, you need to gather tenants that will pay their rent on time while being respectful to their neighbors and your property. To accomplish this, property managers must screen their tenant applicants carefully by following these do’s and don’ts.