Simple Steps for Screening Tenants

Owning a rental property can be a great source of mostly passive income. However, before you rent a home to anyone, make sure you put them through the following screening process first.

Start Immediately

The screening process begins the moment you meet the potential tenant. Usually, this will happen by telephone. It’s vital that you let them know about the requirements for renting your property immediately. This would include things like the rent, deposit, the need for a background check and other important information that could disqualify them.

Have these questions prepared on a piece of paper so you can jot down the answers your potential tenants provide.

As long as you ask these questions politely, you can probably immediately deny anyone who has a problem with answering them.

Showing Your Property

Anyone who makes it past the phone interview should be shown the home next. This is also a great opportunity for you to get a read on the potential tenant. Pay attention to their:

  • Appearance – Did they at least try to make a good first impression? While it’s a bit of a generalization, someone who doesn’t take care of their appearance (especially in the midst of a business transaction) probably won’t take care of your home.
  • Vehicle – The same can be said for their vehicle. It doesn’t have to be a fancy sports car or anything, but once again, are they taking care of it?
  • Overall Attitude – If you rent this person your property, you’ll most likely need to speak with them from time to time. Based on their attitude, do you think those will be productive conversations?

It’s never a bad idea to follow your gut, too. Our instincts about people are eerily accurate, so if someone simply rubs you the wrong way, don’t simply dismiss this feeling.

The Application

Screening a tenant must involve them filling out an application. Make sure that part of this application involves a credit check or you may rent your place to someone who is going to have trouble compensating you in return.

In most cases, we recommend you collect a screening fee. This will help weed out those candidates who aren’t overly serious about renting your property or otherwise may have money problems (we’re not suggesting you charge more than $20).

Approving the New Tenant

Should all of the above check out, you should be excited about the fact that you found someone to rent your home who seems courteous, clean and professional

That being said, there’s still the last step to this screening process that you need to carry out. Schedule a time and place to meet for the lease signing. Make sure you tell the prospective tenant what they must bring (e.g. the deposit, ID, etc.). If they mess any of this up, it’s not too late to take the deal off the table. You definitely don’t want to rent to someone who can’t follow instructions.

Before you entrust someone with such an expensive investment, it is essential that you put them through the above screening process.

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