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Tenant Screening is Critical to Leasing and Property Management Success

Allowing a tenant into your rental property without proper screening can be a big mistake in property management. We often are contacted by property owners who, in an attempt to save money, leased their house to someone based solely on the information provided by the applicant. Maybe the applicant was a friend or family member, or maybe they simply “had a good vibe”. This is so very dangerous! Sometimes everything work out fine, but often, within a few months, the landlord needs help resolving property management problems with the tenant. Often it results in several months of lost rent and damages to the house.

We were approached by a property owner who had already found the tenant for her house and wanted us to provide property management services once the tenant moved in. She had just put up a “For Rent by Owner” sign in the yard when a neighbor walked by with his dog. They struck up a conversation and as luck would have it, he just happened to be looking for a new home. She showed him the house, felt good about him, and approved him based solely on their front yard conversations.

With her tenant ready to move in, the property owner came to us for property management services. She interviewed me with a prepared list of questions, requested documentation and designations for the company, and asked for references. I found this interesting, given that she didn’t request anything of the tenant before selecting him.

We suggested that she allow us to screen her tenant to verify his qualifications, as this is part of our normal leasing and property management services. Upon screening the tenant we discovered he was currently being evicted from the house around the corner for non-payment of rent. We were able to find this out before the tenant moved into the house. Whew…crisis averted!

We were able to find great tenants who stayed a couple of years. And we’ve found two additional tenants, both fantastic, for this particular property over the past five years.

To us, a good tenant is not someone you’d like to invite over for dinner and conversation, but someone instead who will make timely rent payments and care for your home. When you select a great tenant, the property management process becomes easier.

What can you learn by screening your tenant?

One best practice of property management is to gather as much information as possible about your applicant’s ability and willingness to pay the rent and to care for your investment. While a credit score will give you an indication about how the applicant pays their bills, it is not the full picture.

Our computerized screening report includes a full credit report plus criminal history, and courthouse records (judgments, eviction filings, bankruptcy, and foreclosures). In addition, we do a manual verification of employment and rental history. We contact their previous property management company for a report on payments, condition and pets. We look for inconsistencies in the information provided and do additional research to ascertain the truth. We are able to give you much more information than a standard credit report. With all of this information in hand, it is easier to select the best tenant for your property. When a great tenant is selected, the ongoing property management becomes easier to handle, your rents are paid on time and your house is well-cared for.

Once we have helped you screen and select the best possible tenant for your property, we are ready to provide exceptional property management services for you. Our property owners, whether living locally, nationally or internationally, look to us to provide superb leasing and property management services for their rental properties — and based on our owner feedback, we are.

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