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Smart Landlord Moves: Dos and Don’ts of Tenant Screening


You constantly strive to find better tenants for your rental properties. But how?

Screening tenants is the solution. However, you must know how to do this and what to look for. It would help if you also learned what to avoid.

With the proper screening techniques, you can find more reliable tenants. The result of better tenants is higher revenue and fewer problems. To find out more about tenant representation melbourne.

Are you ready to learn what to do and not do? Continue reading this guide to find out.

Things Not to Do When Screening Tenants

It might be helpful to begin by understanding some things you should avoid doing during screenings. Here are some of the top ones:

Violating the Law

There are many ways you can violate the law inadvertently. For example, you might break some of the Fair Housing laws without knowing it. 

Discrimination is one of the most common law violations. You cannot deny renting to a person based on their gender, sexual orientation, religion, or race. If you do, you will face legal consequences.

The best way to avoid breaking the law is by learning the law. Without knowing it, you might ruin it by accident. 

Skimping on Screenings

Many landlords should spend more time on tenant screenings. But instead, they skimp for various reasons. 

Some landlords do this due to costs. They don’t want to spend the money.

Others skimp for a lack of knowledge. They don’t know how to perform screenings. 

You can also skimp by running just one type of screening instead of multiple. If you make this mistake, you might rent to people who are bad tenants. 

Basing the Decision on One Factor Only

Another thing to avoid is basing your decision on one factor only. For example, a person with a perfect credit score might appear to be a great tenant. However, this person might need a better rental record.

When you base the decision on one factor, you can ignore derogatory details. As a result, you might not land the best tenants. 

Skipping Landlord References

One additional thing you should avoid is skipping landlord references. You can ask applicants to list their past landlords. The purpose is for you to contact them.

You can call these landlords to learn more about the applicants. For example, you can ask if they would rent to the person again. You can also ask if they paid their rent on time.

You’ll learn more by contacting landlord references than through any other screening technique. 

Things to Do When Screening Tenants

Now that you understand a few critical things to avoid, you must learn what to do. Here are some of the best practices to use during the tenant screening process. 

Check a Person’s Background

The first thing to do is screen a person’s background. What does this tell you? 

A background check reveals several crucial details about the person. The primary thing you’ll learn is the person’s criminal record. You’ll find out if the person has any criminal charges.

You can learn about the person’s felonies and misdemeanors through a background check. You’ll also learn about the types of charges.

This information is helpful when selecting a tenant. After all, landlords are responsible for keeping their properties as safe as possible. If you can avoid renting to people with dangerous histories, your tenants will stay safer.

Look Into Other Factors 

A criminal record matters, but so do other factors. It would help if you always looked into other factors before renting to a person.

The first one is their credit score. A person with an excellent credit score worked hard to get that score. A high score reveals creditworthiness, which is a top factor to find in every tenant. 

Secondly, review the person’s rental history. Look for evictions and the number of rental units they lived in. Do they move often or stay in one place for the long term? 

Finally, consider their job status. Do they have a job? If so, do they earn enough money to pay the rent?

You can run employment checks to determine a person’s job status. 

Set Guidelines and Stick to Them

Next, you should create guidelines to follow when screening applicants. The purpose of this is to avoid discrimination. You’ll protect yourself by following the same procedures for every applicant.

For example, set a minimum credit score rule. For instance, you won’t rent to someone with a credit score below 620. 

You can set guidelines relating to income, criminal histories, and other factors. 

Follow All State and Local Laws

Learning your local landlord-tenant law is crucial. Every landlord must know the law and follow it. 

For example, Fair Housing laws outline discrimination laws. 

There are also laws relating to the habitability of units and other factors. As a landlord, you must know all the laws. You must also follow them, including when screening tenants. 

Hire Someone to Do It 

One final tip is to hire property management services to handle tenant screenings. Doing this offers several benefits.

First, property managers know how to run tenant screenings. They have the tools and knowledge for the task.

Secondly, they have time to run thorough checks. You pay them for the service. Therefore, they offer trustworthy results.

Finally, hiring it out alleviates your duties. You won’t have to spend your time and effort running the screenings. Yet, you’ll receive the best results possible. 

Results of Improving Your Tenant Screening Procedures

The best screening techniques help you:

  • Find the best tenants
  • Follow the law
  • Improve your rental property business

If your business needs a boost, start with a higher-quality tenant pool. It will make a difference. 

Strive to Find the Best Tenants

You can improve your business operations and profitability by finding better tenants. Screening tenants is the best way to achieve this goal, but you must use the proper methods.

Follow the tips listed here to know what to do and what not to do.

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