Screening potential tenants in Albuquerque is more complex than simply running a credit report and handing over the keys. You want to make sure that, above all, your potential tenants are going to pay rent on time every month. Income and employment is important to consider, and we also recommend you take a look at their past rental experience.
With fair housing laws changing all the time, we’re not checking criminal histories when we screen tenants. Studies have indicated that this can be discriminatory, and it’s our experience that a misdemeanor from years ago doesn’t necessarily mean someone is going to be a bad tenant.
For us, a good tenant is someone who pays rent on time, takes care of your property, and follows the terms of the lease agreement.
The following is a summary of how we find those tenants.
Consistent and Documented Rental Standards
It’s a good idea to let prospective tenants know what will be required in order to rent your property. You may want to provide a written set of rental standards and criteria. Prospective tenants will then know what you’re looking for when you screen their applications. This will protect you from fair housing claims. You can show that you follow the same screening process, and require the same standards to be met, every time an application is submitted. It also saves time for you and your prospective tenants; people will know right away whether or not they’re likely to be approved for your property.
Conduct National Eviction and Credit Checks
Check for an eviction history. Sometimes evictions show up on a credit report, especially if money is still owed to a landlord or apartment community, but you also want to check national databases. Review a prospective tenant’s credit score and credit report. You don’t necessarily need to rent to a tenant with perfect credit. But, you do want someone who takes financial responsibilities seriously. Review past debts and make sure your tenant will be able to pay rent and meet all their existing financial obligations.
Verify the Income and Employment on the Application
An important part of the screening process is assessing income. Your tenants need to earn enough money to pay for rent every month. Talk to employers and verify your applicant’s employment. You can ask them how long the prospective tenant has been employed, and you can ask about their salary. If the employer is not willing to share that information, ask your applicant for pay stubs, bank statements, or tax records.
Contact Current and Former Landlord References
You’ll need to understand a tenant’s rental history, and you want to make sure landlords have had positive experiences with this tenant in the past. The way a tenant has treated landlords and properties in the past is a good indication of how they perform in your property. Ask for landlord contact information, and talk to them about whether rent was paid on time. Ask if there was any property damage beyond wear and tear and if the tenant had pets. Find out if the lease terms were followed and if enough notice was given before the tenant moved out. Always ask if the landlord would be willing to rent to that tenant again.
Once you have all the data you need from your screening process, you can make a decision about whether the applicant meets your requirements. A good screening process allows you to find the right tenant and protects you from hassles and problems in the future.
We have a consistent and effective screening process in place, and we’d love to tell you more about it. Contact us at Bruni Karr Rental & Management Agency.