Last modified on August 29th, 2018
By Elizabeth Millar
As a diligent property manager, of course, it’s only natural to want the best possible renters to live in your properties. The benefits are huge: you always get rent on time, communication is easy and pleasant, they keep you aware of happenings on the property, they may refer other good renters, and they might even be all-around enjoyable people to interact with. It’s the best!
Tenant Screening Is a Must
A tenant screening process is crucial when it comes to mitigating potential risk and securing the best possible fit. It’s the first step to learning more about tenants, and there is a lot to learn. Credit history, eviction history, and even criminal records are all things you can glean from a screening. And it doesn’t end with just running the check; you need to thoroughly read all of the documentation and make an informed decision based on the data.
Although screening can be tedious and cumbersome, it’s worth the extra effort to avoid permitting an at-risk renter to move into your property and cause long-lasting consequences.
Remove Your Emotion From the Decision
Has this ever happened to you? You meet a prospective tenant who seems nice, but after running a background check, you might notice an alarming eviction history or a poor credit score. They assure you that they are about to land a job and by the time they move in it will be all set. They’ll always pay rent on time, the promise. You shake hands. Fast forward a month or two, and suddenly the rent is coming in later, and later, and then not at all. What went wrong? It seemed like a good arrangement, you were helping them out, and you even shook on it.
The fact is, warning signs were ignored because emotions got the best of you. It happens, it can be really hard to say “no,” especially if they seem sincere and good-natured, but it’s important to stay consistent and forgo any special exceptions. It could wind up costing you thousands of dollars in unpaid rent. You can remedy this by strictly keeping yourself to your guidelines or by getting a little help with an automated decisioning tool. Using an automated decisioning tool not only removes the human bias, but it also stays compliant with fair housing rules and regulations.
Tenant Screening Best Practices
Perhaps you already have a screening process in place and are thinking about ways to improve it, or you aren’t screening and want to learn how to start off on the right foot – these best practices are here to help:
- Set a list of guidelines that renters are expected to follow. To properly curate this list, we strongly suggest you outline all rules and regulations that you want to be enforced on your property.
- Consistently follow those guidelines, for each and every tenant. No exceptions.
- Perform checks such as background, criminal, and credit to mitigate your risk of potential loss.
Make the effort today to invest in a quality screening process that you can trust – and then be sure to follow it!
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