Screening tenants for your Charleston rental property is one of your most important jobs as a landlord. The type of tenant you place will have a direct impact on your investment experience. Today, we’re talking about how you should be screening to find the best possible tenants.
Obtain a Direct Credit Score
The number one thing to do is to get a direct credit score. This gives you a good financial snapshot of the applicant and their approach to financial responsibilities.
Check for Past Evictions
No matter what type of reporting you are using, you want to be sure you get a report that will show you any past evictions the applicant may have had. We recommend you check national databases for evictions in case an applicant was evicted from a property in another state.
Look at Criminal Backgrounds
For obvious reasons, you never want to rent to an applicant with a past criminal record. Be sure to run a report that shows any prior convictions or past criminal activity.
Verify Employment History and Income
You need to make sure your resident is able to afford the rent.
Verify their income and employment. We recommend that you actually get something in writing from the employer that shows their employment history and lets you know they earn enough to afford the rent. It’s no good for them or for you if you lease a property to a resident who struggles to make the rent payment every month or cannot pay on time.
Always Check Landlord References
Many property management companies will not do this, but we think it’s super important. Get at least one landlord reference. You need to talk to the landlord if the applicant is coming from another rental and ask the basic questions. Find out if they would rent to them again. If they would, then that’s great. But if not, dig deeper and find out why.
Conduct Consistent Tenant Screenings
This has to be consistent throughout every applicant. There are no shortcuts. The screening process has to be done and if it’s not done this way, there is a better chance of not having 100% success with your resident on a long term basis.
Easy Access to Applications
The other part of the screening process is that you need to make it very easy for residents to apply. It should be paperless, and a good property management company will be able to meet with the applicant at the property if they are interested in renting it. Screening should happen quickly and efficiently. You don’t want an interested tenant to have to wait a long time to know if they are approved.
If you don’t screen well, you may have residents that aren’t well-qualified. They may not pay the rent on time or respect the property as they should. This can lead to expenses and a lot of turnovers.
The screening is crucial and there should never be any shortcuts taken on it. If you have any additional questions regarding the screening process, please feel free to contact us at Charleston Home Rentals.