Screening your tenants doesn’t take long, but it can save you years of misery. Tenants who will destroy your property or violate the terms of their lease often have a history of doing so that can be verified with a phone call or some help from professionals. Just by requiring a few key documents for the screening process, you can dramatically lower your risk of having to deal with a bad tenant at all.
Priorities for Screening Tenants
A Recommendation from a Landlord
Rental history should be a section on any rental application. You should request as much rental history as is reasonable in the space provided on your form, and it’s best to request at least the previous five years. Make sure that the contact information for any past landlords is included, because you will want to call or email them before you enter into a rental agreement with any tenant.
There is no better resource than past landlords if you want to understand how much respect a renter will have for the property or the terms of the lease. If you learn about a history of damage, late payments or evictions related to behavior, you should be ready to expect the same when that renters move into your property.
A payslip is an important tool for several reasons. First, it’s important to verify employment as part of the screening process. You don’t want to rent to someone who cannot guarantee that they can cover the rent, after all. A payslip is helpful in another important way: It keeps tenants from simply ignoring you if you’re pursuing them for non-payment. You may not know their new address if they move out of your property, but it’s unlikely that they quit their job when they moved out. With all the information on the payslip, you can more effectively find them and make claims.
You will need the help of a professional tenant screening service if you want to handle more advanced searches that include credit checks. These checks are often well-worth the money. While a payslip can tell you what a possible tenant earns, it does not tell you how responsible they are with their debts. A credit check may reveal that a renter has defaulted on past landlords.
Tenant background checks are not as common as other types of background checks, but they still offer another level of protection. It can be helpful to know if your possible tenant has a history of problems with the law, particularly in ways that may affect their commitments in a contract.
Let Us Help You Screen Your Tenants
Let us give you the support you need when you are screening tenants. When you’ve already requested payslips and landlord recommendations, some background checks are all you need to make sure that you’re dealing with a tenant you can trust.