How to Properly Screen for Quality Long Term Tenants | Albuquerque Property Management - Article Banner

How comfortable are you screening Albuquerque tenants? 

It’s not always easy, especially if you’re managing your own rental property. Companies providing rental management in Albuquerque have resources and connections that make tenant screening efficient, thorough, and legally compliant. 

If you’re not sure how to screen tenants, or you’re worried about unintentionally violating fair housing laws, work with someone providing property management services in Albuquerque. Not only will you protect yourself and your property, you’ll also have a well-qualified tenant in place for a year or longer. 

Establishing Standard Qualifying Rental Criteria

The first thing you want to do when effectively screening tenants is establish some criteria against which you will measure every application. There are several important reasons for this:

  • You want to keep your screening process objective. If you screen two different applicants against different standards, you could violate fair housing laws. Every applicant needs to be treated the same. 
  • Providing this criteria to potential applicants ahead of time will ensure only people who believe they are qualified will apply for your home. If you have a minimum credit score, for example, you don’t want anyone below that score to waste time and money applying. 

Your criteria can include credit, income, and rental history standards. Put this in writing and provide it to any and every prospective applicant. 

Evaluating Income During the Screening Process

Income is often considered the most important qualifying criteria when we’re talking about screening tenants. You want to make sure the tenants you place can afford the rent every month. 

Best practices say that you want a tenant who earns at least three times the monthly rent. Ask for documentation so you can verify what they earn. That might come in the form of pay stubs from a company, bank statements for individuals who are self employed, or even tax records. If someone is moving into Albuquerque for a job, ask for an offer letter. 

Checking Tenant Credit 

Credit checks are an important part of tenant screening. 

The credit score can provide a useful threshold for what you’ll consider and what you won’t. Perhaps you won’t consider anyone with a credit score under 600, for example. 

Don’t focus too much on the credit score. You want to look at the full credit report, too. Is there money owed to former landlords? That’s a red flag. Are utility accounts in collection? You don’t want that tenant. A lot of debt can be dangerous, too. You’re not looking for perfect credit, necessarily, but you do want to know that your tenant is financially responsible, especially when it comes to their housing bills. 

Rental History and Albuquerque Tenants 

Check Rental HistoryChecking your applicant’s rental history is extremely important. You want to verify all the addresses on the credit report with the former addresses on the application. Talk to current and former landlords, too. Ask if rent was paid on time and if any property damage was left behind. Ask if they’d rent to that tenant again. 

These are some of the best tips we can give you when it comes to screening tenants. Be thorough and always comply with federal and state fair housing laws. 

If you’d like some screening help, please contact us at Bruni Karr Agency. We provide property management services in Albuquerque, and we can help you find a qualified tenant.