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Tenant Screening Checklist for Landlords

Tenant Screening Checklist for Landlords

As a landlord or property manager in Charlotte, the success of your rental property investment is largely determined by the quality of tenants that you grant permission to occupy your rental property. All tenants are not the same and it’s important to conduct due diligence when looking for new potential tenants to identify any red flags that will help you weed out any bad tenants. The easiest strategy to do so is by having a tenant screening checklist that you can use to assess every new potential tenant to determine whether they meet the minimum requirements or not. 

In this guide, we shall highlight essential components that you should include in a tenant screening checklist so as to select only the right tenants.

Define a suitable tenant screening procedure

To have an easier tenant screening process, you must define what exactly you are looking for in a new tenant. The goal here is to be specific but the screening procedure parameter must be fair and practical to ensure transparency. You can set minimum considerations that a tenant ought to meet to qualify to rent your rental property such as;

  • Employed and have sufficient income
  • Clear track record of paying rent on time
  • Zero criminal history
  • Fits with your preferred lifestyle requirements

Incorporate your selection procedure in your rental listing

When uploading your online rental listings, you can make your pre-screening work easier by outlining a brief of the requirements that potential tenants must meet. Doing so will ensure that you will only receive applications from new tenants who have met the necessary credentials. In addition, those who will not meet your selection criteria will not apply thus, reducing the number of potential tenants that will have to be interviewed.

Set an online/phone interview

Once you have received applications from interested tenants, you can reach out to them for the initial phone or online interview. It’s at this juncture where you get an opportunity to ask potential new tenants important questions such as; 

  • Why are you moving?
  • Can I get a recommendation from your current landlord?
  • When are you planning to relocate?
  • Are you employed and what is your monthly income?
  • Have you ever been evicted?

Once you engage several potential tenants, you need to settle on the most qualified ones and organize for a physical or virtual rental property showing.

Engage the tenant more during a rental property showing

Rental property showing gives you an opportunity to have a closer and deep discussion with the potential tenant. Prepare the property and let the tenant ask any questions they might have. Pay close attention to whether they are punctual, well-organized, and respectful. 

If there are any negative red flags, you should consider ending the screening process there. If you are satisfied with the tenant's commitment and there is mutual agreement during property showing, you should request the tenant to make a rental application.

Rental application

When a tenant completes a rental application, it indicates that they are officially committing that they will occupy your rental property. Some of the crucial information that a tenant should avail of at this juncture include; employment status and employer details, income, eviction history, rent arrears record, and past residence landlord contact details.

Contact tenant employer and previous landlords

Reaching out to the tenant’s employer ensures that you are able to ascertain that the tenant is indeed employed and that they earn a sizeable salary. Verifying tenant income ensures that you screen a tenant who will not struggle to pay rent as they have stable employment in a verifiable company or institution. 

Contacting the current and previous landlords help you understand the tenant history and their track record when it comes to paying rent and taking good care of rental properties. Understanding tenant behavior is also very important as you will get to know whether you are dealing with a person with integrity or a troublemaker. 

Review tenant credit report

Analyzing the tenant's credit report will shed more light concerning the tenant's financial discipline, credit history, and debt repayment records. Getting these details is very vital as it will help landlords and property managers weed out potentially bad tenants. Tenants with good credit score ratings can be trusted that they will be paying monthly rents without fail as opposed to those who have questionable backgrounds and poor credit scores.

Approve or decline tenant rental request

After careful consideration of the above elements and tenant behavior, you will have the final say on whether to accept or reject the new tenant application request. As the owner or manager of the rental property, taking new potential tenants through a screening process ensures that you entrust your property to responsible individuals who understand their obligations. 

Finding the right tenant should not be a very big deal if you follow this definitive tenant screening checklist. If want to hire a professional property manager for your rental properties in Charlotte, NC, consider working with property management experts with a track record like Bottom Line Property Management Charlotte, NC.

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