There are times when landlords find themselves in shambles because of a problematic tenant. There are those who are always in the delay in terms of their payments, or those who keep on defaulting payments or does not take know how to take care of the leased property, or those who just suddenly disappears without even finishing the terms agreed upon in the lease contract.
It is very important that you as a landlord should be able to know what type of tenant you are dealing with. You can always avail of tenant screening services for you to be able to have a better idea on who and what kind of tenant whom you are about to lease your property to. It should be noted that the last thing that you would want it to deal with negligent tenants, much worse “fly by night” tenants who suddenly disappears without even settling the terms of the lease contract.
But of course, not all tenants are bad tenants. But still, even though it appears that the tenant looks decent, it is still more prudent for you as a landlord to conduct screening services to be able to evaluate the character and capacity of your prospective tenant.
Tenant screening is very important, and there are a certain set of factors that a landlord must look into so that you will be able to find a great tenant for your leased properties. The following are some advice which can serve as a guide for you to be able to help make the best choice.
- Make sure to follow the law
All tenants must not be discriminated against by a landlord. There are certain laws which were enacted to able to protect all tenants from being discriminated against certain classes of people in any kind of transactions or activities relating to housing. In sum, a landlord cannot discriminate a tenant based on his or her race or color, national ethnicity, religious affiliation, sex, familial status, or disability. Each state in the United States has its laws that should be observed upon. So it should be better for a landlord to be able to know these governing laws.
- Select a tenant who has a good credit standing
This is how you can evaluate if your tenant is financially responsible. Tenants with good credit scores are an indication that they will also make good when it comes to the terms of payment agreed upon. Although availing of services for credit checking has a fee, you can try to evaluate if such fee is an equitable means for you to have greater assurance in determining the type of tenant that you are dealing with.
You can have the tenant’s income verified by asking for a copy of their latest pay slips, or you can call their employers directly and ask to confirm about their employment, their length of service in the company and their attendance and monthly records.
In checking your tenant’s credit standing, you can do so by checking on their income to debt ratio. You must be able to factor in the amount of debt that your tenant has in relation to their earnings. This is because although your tenant is a high-income earner, this is going to be inadequate because of the amount of debt that they have. And there might be a higher chance that their lease payments might be compromised.
- Check if your tenant has criminal records
Since criminal information about a person is a public record, this can be readily seen at various court houses. This will let you know if your tenant has records of either minor or major offenses which will also give you an idea if such tenant is acceptable or not. It should be noted that when a prospective tenant has committed an offense related on falsification, you should make sure to verify the identity of that particular tenant first before going further with the lease contract or rental agreement.
Of course, you should also be cautious in dealing with a tenant who has criminal records because they too are included in the protection clause which prohibits landlords from tenants who have had criminal convictions. So if you reject a tenant because one has a criminal record, you should be able to substantiate such rejection for you to justify the reason as to why you did not accept that certain tenant.
- Check in to your tenant’s rental history
A reference indicating previous landlords is also important. This is because which such information, you can do a background check on your tenant from previous landlords and ask about how was their experience from that particular tenant. This is essential because this will give you an idea on how that tenant is going to be once you contracted with them. You may want to ask as to the timing of tenant’s rental payments, why such tenant left the previous landlord, did such tenant left with proper liquidation of the agreement, or did were they negligent when it comes to the property being leased.
Not all tenants, however, have prior records, so for first-time lessees, you may want to add safeguards for you to be able to protect your interest in the lease contract or rental agreement.
- It is always better to check a tenant who is stable
The employment background of the tenant is very important because this will let you know on whether or not such tenant has a stable job with a stable paycheck. This will also help you determine if whether such tenant keeps on switching jobs because if this is so, chances are, your lease contract might get pre-terminated because such tenant will then have to move again to another area.
In dealing with tenants, you must be able to segregate tenants whom you see as good, against those whom you think might give you problems in the future. The items above are merely guides so that the risk of dealing with problematic tenants will be mitigated.