Tenant screening is critical to finding the right tenant who will care for the property, pay on time, and be a quality tenant for years to come. The tenant screening process should include five critical areas that can help you identify potential disqualifiers when reviewing rental applications:

  1. First contact. When someone calls to ask about the vacancy, you want to ask a few pre-screening questions to make sure they are actually interested. Sending them to your website where they can gather more information and go through the pre-screening process can help to weed out some of the people that aren’t truly interested in the unit.
  2. Showing the unit. When a person comes to walk through the unit, you want to watch out for some red flags in a face to face meeting. 
  3. Application. Everyone who would like to rent the unit needs to fill out the rental application. The application needs to be clear when it comes to background checks, credit report checks, and other requirements. 
  4. Approving an applicant. Once someone does fill out the application, the approval process can take a few days or a few weeks. Pulling credit and running background checks are critical to finding a quality tenant. 
  5. Singing a lease. The final step is to have the applicant sign a lease. The lease will state the expectations and requirements for renting the unit. Make sure you carefully go through the lease together so there is no confusion in the future. 

Unfortunately fraud has become a serious issue for many property managers. People have been known to fake identities and lie on their application. Background checks causes many people to lie about their history as they may be rejected from applications for criminal records and poor credit. 

Not only do landlords need to do their research when considering an applicant, you need to spend time talking to former landlords. Find out how the person was for their last landlord. The opinion of a previous landlord is invaluable as they could tell you about their rental payment history, their behavior as a tenant, and more. Learning about the background of this individual can help to weed out the costly tenants from obtaining the unit. 

Red Flags of Costly Tenants 

As you put together a rental application and form a tenant screening process, here are some questions to ask that can raise some red flags:

  • What is your previous address? (If they refuse to answer, note this as it could mean they are hiding something)
  • Do you have any animals?
  • How many people will live here?
  • What is your gross vs net income? 
  • What is your credit score?
  • Is your job secure?
  • Have you paid rent late in the past?
  • Why are you moving?
  • When do you plan to move?

Gathering answers to these questions will help you feel out the personality of the tenant, and what type of tenant they will be. Keyrenter Property Management Hampton Roads specializes in providing residential property management services to landlords of single family homes, duplexes, condos, and small multifamily units. Our purpose is to help landlords maximize the return on their investment property while eliminating the stressors associated with being a landlord.