Four Tips For Screening Your Own Tenants

Posted on: 3 August 2018

In the perfect world, every landlord would have a property management team to screen tenants for them. But in the real world, sometimes you have to save money—and that often means screening and finding your own tenants. How do you know a good tenant from a bad tenant? How do you make sure the person you choose will take care of the property and pay on time? It all comes down to good screening, which you can accomplish with the tips below.

1. Verify proof of identity.

There's nothing to say the person applying as Shiela Winters is not actually Jessica James—unless you take the time to verify identity. In your application process, ask for two forms of ID. A driver's license and birth certificate are pretty standard. You could accept alternate forms of secondary ID like a credit card, student ID, or social security card.

2. Call references.

Many landlords ask for references, but few actually ever call them! You can learn so much about a person by calling their previous landlords. The landlord will let you know if the person paid late, destroyed their apartment, or did anything else that may make you not want to choose them as a tenant. If an applicant does not have a rental history for whatever reason, ask for work-related and personal references you can call instead.

3. Look for a stable work history.

Some landlords just check to see if a tenant is employed and that they currently have the income to cover the rent. The problem is, the tenant could be fired in a week, and then they may no longer be able to pay. So, it's important to look at their work history, too. If they have been in their job for a year or two, you can figure that's pretty stable. If they've had 15 jobs in the past year, on the other hand, you should proceed with caution.

4. Meet the tenant in person.

You may get applicants who are out of town and who thus send in an application but cannot meet in person. Tenants of this sort are probably not the best choice. Try to meet everyone in person so you can try to judge whether they are honest, put-together, and responsible. If there is someone from out-of-town who you really want to rent to, try interviewing that person using video chat software. 

For more information regarding screening your own tenants, talk to a professional at a company such as Vacancy Fillers.