Good tenant screening is absolutely essential for successful property management. A few extra hours screening tenants thoroughly can save you days, weeks or even months of headaches down the line.

Use an integrated property management system.

Built-in management systems include the ability to automatically screen any prospective residents regarding both their credit and their criminal history. While this does not replace the need to call references personally, it does ensure that no one with an undisclosed criminal history or blatant credit issues will go through to the next stage of applications. Having these application services integrated directly into your property management system is a fantastic way to streamline the entire process and ensure the validity of the data.

Take your tenant screening mobile.

Background checks and tenant screening is only one part of your resident management services, but it’s a critical part. By going mobile, you can conduct tenant screening and other resident services wherever you are. This gives you the opportunity to devote time to the process that you simply wouldn’t otherwise have. A solid property management system that includes mobile connectivity is absolutely essential to this process, and can help with other property management services as well.

Don’t forget to make your calls.

Regardless of whether you use a background check or credit check service, you should still call your tenant’s references. This is especially true of prior landlords. It’s always important for you to speak personally with references to get a good feel about whether or not your prospective tenants are trustworthy. Other landlords, in particular, will often be willing to share with you vital information regarding the resident and whether they will be suitable for your property.

Follow all of the current laws and regulations.

Regardless of what tools are used to screen residents, it’s important to remember that there are laws and regulations regarding tenant screening and these laws sometimes change. As an example, Oregon recently passed a law that property managers cannot discriminate against individuals for certain types of criminal charges. If you’re concerned about the regulations governing your state, you can either use a professional tenant service or keep up to date through your state’s tenant and landlord code.

Going with your gut may sometimes be necessary when screening a tenant. Sometimes there may be red flags present that you can’t explain, but still exist. If you get the feeling that a tenant may not be able to pay or may cause problems down the line, it’s very likely that your instinct is correct. However, do keep in mind that you should never make a decision that would constitute discrimination based on race, gender, age or religion.