You have a home available for rent, but you aren’t the type of landlord who will give your rentals to just anyone.
How do you choose the perfect tenant for your property? It may be easier than you think.
There are so many factors involved in choosing a tenant that it can seem overwhelming. Some landlords may even give up and rent to anyone to end the process. You don’t want this to be you, but how do you avoid these frustrations?
Remembering the laws of renting are fundamental. You must treat all potential renters equally and fairly. This means you cannot discriminate against prospective tenants based on uncontrolled factors such as sex, race, religion, families with children, or disabilities. Each possible tenant must be considered equally among all prospects.
Income, Credit, and Background
Be sure to verify income and credit scores. This is a factor that could cause issues down the road. Potential renters could lie about their jobs and credit because they desperately need housing. The problem with this occurs later when their income or credit is lower than what you were told, and now, they cannot pay their rent, or their credit is too low to have the utilities in their name.
Always verify that the credit score and income match what they write on their application before considering them as a renter. You never know what could happen after a potential tenant misrepresents their income or credit.
What about the potential tenant’s background check? Did they pass your inspection, or are you renting your property to a convicted felon? It’s essential to check their criminal history as well. If a felon ends up in your rental unit, you become responsible for any incidents that take place in the unit.
You have so many applications you can’t even think straight. How do you move beyond these and pick one? By hiring help, you can gain access to a multitude of resources to find the perfect tenant. Some websites or companies even offer screening packages that check each bit of information the potential tenant writes down.
By making use of resources like these, you can search their address history, verify who they are, check their criminal history, credit, income, and validate if they’ve ever been evicted from another property.
For assistance on a more long-term basis, try hiring a property manager. This person would be responsible for finding the information on the applicant and also overseeing the property regularly. This would save you even more time and energy, knowing that someone else is looking after this property while you oversee others.
There may be additional questions you want to ask a potential tenant that is not included on a standard application. Perhaps you want to ask if someone will be moving with them to ensure your property isn’t over capacity for a single-family home, or even why they’re moving and when to see if renting to them is a plausible option.
One of the most critical aspects of finding the perfect tenant is the application. The details a landlord asks for in a rental application are very important, and therefore should be very specific. Any landlord can ask for a potential tenant’s credit income information – this is typical on an application. However, what about the more specific information, such as references or rental history?
Perhaps you aren’t comfortable renting to a group that can’t meet a minimum yearly income for the entire household. It’s important to ask for all of the essentials, but also to provide your requirements as well.
By including household income and other details on the application, it can deter any renters who can’t meet your requirements. Perhaps you don’t want to allow pets or smokers, or maybe you don’t want to take tenants who have been previously evicted, regardless of the reason. Adding the specific details you want to know about the applicants, as well as the specific information they should know before applying, could drastically change the type of people who apply to rent your property.
Do Your Research
Keeping the above suggestions in mind, as well as coming up with your own specifics, can aid in finding the perfect tenant for your property. It’s equally important for your applicants to learn about your expectations as it is for you to know their history.
Be sure to do your research for different laws and rules before creating your next rental application or agreement for a new tenant. It might just change how you view applicants and how they view you and your property.
Patrick Freeze is the President of Bay Management Group, which manages about 4,000 units in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The company is overseeing more than $700 million worth of real estate as of October 1st, 2018.