Tenant Screening Checklist

Have prospective tenants fill out and sign a standard rental application to provide personal and employment information and allow landlord to obtain a credit report and background check. Get the applicant’s credit report through a credit reporting and tenant agency

Perform a thorough background check. Call previous landlords. They are your best, most honest source of information about your potential tenant. Current landlords who want to get rid of bad tenants may not be the most objective source for you.

* Don’t hurry. The credit and background checks only take a few hours to complete.

* Pay particular attention to fair housing. Many potential tenants know the law. The internet is a wonderful source for both renters and landlords. Know what you can say, and be careful to stay within these guidelines

* Never discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, marital status or disability or source of a person’s income.

* Check your state and local laws to ensure you are in compliance.

* Tenant associations and local tenancy councils are good sources of compliance issues. If you do not have the time, you can seek professional property management.

When setting your criteria, you can and should consider:

* Set a minimum income requirement as a multiple of the rent. We are comfortable with 3X gross income as qualification.

* Credit Rating: Consider a minimum score, a minimum of late pay, income to rent ratio

* Length of job. Many executives considered six months as a minimum.

* Information about prior rental, especially a conversation with the prior landlord

* Maximum number of residents allowed. State law may depart from federal law. Know what’s allowed in your area.

* Delivery Files: A red flag

* Bankruptcy Registration: Consider a time frame, maybe a bankruptcy three or more years ago with good income and good payment record is reasonable.

Questions you can ask

* Revenue: Retrieve two recent payment stubs and files with the application.

* Self-employed: Ask for the latest IRS 1040 and bank statements to confirm earnings.

* Are there areas that need clarification? Please check the current address.

* What is their overall credit rating? Create a minimum score and stick to it. Remains targets for all applicants.

* NSF: Some bad checks?

* Previous postponements?

* Have the police ever been called?

* Credit Report? Find out if past collections or judgments are okay and decide how long since you consider them for your device. The latest issues are a red flag.

* What did the previous landlord say about the applicant? This is your best source for a character reference on how they lived among their neighbors and how they left the unit. Do they have any judge or collectables on their c

Questions you can ask Prior landlords

* Confirm that the prospective tenant lived at this address and confirm dates.

* Ask if the owner / manager knows why they left.

* Ask about the 30 days proper announcement that they intended to leave.

* Was the deposit fully returned?

* Where 3 days or 30 days of messages have ever been sent during the rental period

* Where police ever called because of complaints

* Want to rent to tenants again?

Howard Bell to yourpropertypath.com