When you are renting out a property, even if you are using a property management company, it is important that you find the right tenant(s) for your house. Any industry expert will tell you that keeping a property clean and well maintained isn’t the only thing to worry about. Part of and sound rental strategy is screening tenants. After all, there is nothing worse than having a tenant with no respect for your property who vandalises and leaves your property in a mess.

Creating an application form

Drawing up an application form is not particularly difficult. Most property management agencies will have their own lists of criterion that they require in order to comply with government laws and regulations. However, if you are managing a property as an individual as opposed to as part of a company you may want to draw up your own application form. Just make sure the application covers everything you need to know about a tenant. This may include information about the prospective tenant’s finances, employment and personal details.

Tell Applicants of Lease Terms Early

Informing applicants of leasing terms early on may bring about reactions that help with screening. If they feel uncomfortable with the deposit and/or monthly dues, you give them a chance to turn down your offer by making your leasing terms known up front. It saves both you and your prospective tenant the trouble further down the line. After all, you want a tenant that can afford to pay rent, not one that is late and gives excuses instead of payment.

Run a Background Check

A lot of times a proper background check of your tenants is necessary. By getting a background check, you can get a detailed picture of a tenant’s past dealings. Factors like previous evictions, criminal records (if any) and public records are more than enough to know if a tenant is high- or low-risk  and whether they are likely to meet rent payments and respect your property. You wouldn’t want n tenant that has a lengthy criminal record, or one who has been evicted numerous times in the past for none payment and vandalism.

Verify References

Ask the applicant to provide references in the application. This is among the most important components of tenant screening, but it’s likely to take up the most time. Making the effort to contact each personal reference, be it an employer, close friend, neighbour or relative of the applicant is one of the best ways to find out about a prospective tenant without a detailed background check. Asking a few questions about the applicant’s character is a good way to help you to identify some key qualities that’ll help inform your decision about their tenancy application.

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