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4 Tenant Screening Mistakes That You Should Never Make

4 Tenant Screening Mistakes That You Should Never Make

As a landlord, you want to make sure that you find the best tenants for your property. But when it comes to tenant screening, there are a lot of things that could go wrong.

This, in turn, would mean that things could continue to go wrong when your tenants move in. In fact, about 3 million tenants get evicted each year.

If you want to avoid that process and any other terrible things that could go wrong, you need to make sure you follow these tenant screening tips.

1. Not Having a Rental Application

As a landlord, the first thing you need to do is have a rental application. In this application, you can get to know more about them to be sure they are right for your property. Before you show the apartment to just anyone, you should pre-vet them with the rental application.

For instance, you could ask prescreening questions that make sure your candidates for the apartment or property are qualified in a financial way as well as a moral way (aka, pass their background check). 

Here are some questions you can ask on the application:

  • What is your name and phone number?
  • What date are you looking to move?
  • Are you employed, and if so, what is your income on a yearly basis?
  • Can we do a background check?

If they say 'no' to the background check, it is best to move on to someone else. With this information, you are also aware if they can afford your property on a month-to-month basis.

2. Skipping a Background Check

You never want to skip a background check.

There are many reasons for this. If you find on the background check that a tenant has been in trouble before, they may find themselves in trouble again, or worse, bring you into the mix.

You also don't want to put someone with a criminal record near children or other tenants of yours. They probably wouldn't be happy about that.

3. Not Interviewing Potential Tenants

Before you do a background check and have them fill out the application, you'll want to interview potential tenants. This can make sure they are the right fit before they apply.

Ask them:

  • Do you smoke?
  • Do you have pets?
  • How many people will be in the rental?
  • Have you ever been evicted?
  • Are you able to provide references from your previous landlord? 
  • When are you looking to move?
  • How long do you plan to be in this location?

4. Not Requiring a Proof of Income

Once they apply, you've run the background check, and you know their income, you now should ask for proof of that income.

Ask for a bank account statement, pay stub, direct deposit notice, or a letter from the employer.

Use This Tenant Screening Guide

There can be a lot that goes into being a landlord. If you don't want to go at it alone and need some help with tenant screening, we can be that for you!

Contact us at Saratoga Springs Property Management so we can discuss how we can best assist you.