If you’re a landlord, one of your greatest concerns should be encountering what is called the “professional tenant”. While the term sounds like it should be a good thing, in fact it’s the opposite. A professional tenant is a renter who has strategically learned the system of how to live in a place for as long as possible without paying rent, then moving on to do the same somewhere else.
You can counteract such frauds with Professional Tenant Screening. Because criminal-minded professional tenants have a long list of evictions on their record, they are easily identified and reduce the landlord’s risk.
Aside from professional scammers, landlords will also want to weed out those who simply might not be a good fit for your property. For example, if you have a small rental in a less-desirable part of town, your criteria for acceptance might be dramatically different than if you are operating a luxury rental in the heart of downtown. Part of your screening process should involve employment and income verification to help you determine if a tenant will have the finances to afford your property.
Do a pre-screening interview with interested would-be tenants and ask some basic, (often very telling) questions.
- Why are you moving?
- What date do you want to move in?
- Can you meet the income requirements?
- Will anyone else be living with you?
- Is a criminal, credit and eviction check okay with you?
- Do you have pets?
- Do you have employer and landlord references?
Answers to these questions can help you decide if you want to spend time on the application process. Once you have an application filled out, you have a written record and helps you know valuable details about the applicant. Read it carefully and stay organized with accepted or rejected applicants. Take the time needed to verify both income and past housing history.
Next is the formal tenant screening report that includes a credit report, a criminal background check, and an eviction report. (Eviction laws in Texas should be clearly understood to know what your recourse is should it be necessary.) From the eviction report, you can determine if a renter meets your standards. The report details any history of evictions.
Remember, when you are screening tenants, you must follow both local and federal Fair Housing Laws. Before you begin creating criteria or interviewing tenants, take the time to fully educate yourself on what information you can lawfully use to determine a renter.
By taking the extra time to screen tenants, you can save yourself thousands of dollars in the long run. However, if you find the process too time consuming but you know how important it is, call on the professionals who have been tenant screening for years – Cousin James Management. We will help you find and keep the best possible tenants for your rental investment property.