- August 19, 2016
- Posted by: James White
- Category: Blog
Being a landlord can be tough sometimes. This is why it’s so important that you properly screen tenants. If you don’t, you’re just making your job even tougher. Unfortunately, there are some common mistakes landlords make that all but guarantee their new tenant will become a serious problem. Fortunately, we’re going to identify them and explain why they must be avoided.
Renting to People They Know
This is a tough mistake to avoid, but the consequences of renting to someone you know it can be nothing short of catastrophic. It’s a lot like the advice people give about trying to do business with your friends: you shouldn’t. That’s because the person you lease your property to may end up missing rent or damaging the home. These and other actions mean you have to take action. Will you be able to do so if this happens with a friend, family member, etc?
If you absolutely cannot bring yourself to deny someone you know, at least be sure you put them through the same rigorous screening process you would for anyone else.
Not Running a Background Check on Every Tenant
Always make sure you know who exactly will be living in your property. Another common mistake a lot of landlords make is only running a background check on the person who contacted them about the home. What they don’t realize is that the person’s friend, spouse or even child has a criminal record or has been evicted in the past.
Anyone who is 18 years old or older must have a background check done to ensure they won’t become a problem tenant in the future.
Not Following Up on References
Whenever possible, a landlord should give preference to a prospective tenant who provides the contact information for people they’ve rented from in the past. However, you also need to call these people for a quick conversation before renting your place out to someone.
There are two reasons for this. The first is that some people will provide false information because they know the landlord won’t bother to make a couple calls. They’re essentially bluffing and this gamble pays off far too often.
The second is that some people will provide completely valid contact information because they have no idea their last landlord actually couldn’t wait for them to move out.
Keep Tenant Screening Forms Private
By law, any information you are given through a tenant screening form is private and not something you should be sharing with others. Don’t indulge in gossip about your prospective tenants or you could quickly find yourself in legal trouble.
You should also store these documents somewhere safe. Even if you don’t share their info, prying eyes may come across it when visiting you at your home or office and now, again, you may be in trouble with the law despite your best intentions.
Now that you know which mistakes your fellow landlords tend to make – and regret – make sure you don’t fall into the trap of doing the same.