Screen Your Tenants

Posted: 4/15/2015

When you are looking for new tenants, don't be afraid to be thorough during the screening process. Selecting someone as a tenant for your rental property requires attention and work, but it can save you from future headaches.

The very first step is to screen your potential, tenants on the phone. During the initial interview, it is crucial to know what questions to ask. Your questions should give you a good idea of two important issues: If your tenants can afford your rent and if they are cooperative on keeping their side of the bargain when it comes to rental agreement.

To see if your tenant applicants are able to pay the rent, the easiest way is to ask them for their credit score and if they have a credit report that they can show you. You should also ask them for their job type and employer. If they are unemployed, ask for their exact source of income.

That is a start, however, but a tenant who is financially stable is not enough.

In addition to have someone who can afford the rent, you also want to minimize your chances of getting into conflicts with your tenants. When talking to them, pay attention to how they communicate. It is also a good idea to ask for their previous landlord's contact information and talk to them about their experience with the potential tenant. Their reason for moving out is another crucial question when it comes to screening. Does the applicant need to relocate because they received a job offer on the other side of town or because they are being chased out by their current landlord?

When meeting with the applicant in person, pay attention to their behavior. They don't necessarily have to be friendly and charming, but they have to be considerate and respect you and your rights as a landlord.

When negotiating the terms of your rental agreement, be clear about your rules and expectations and hear theirs. Do they sound reasonable? How do they really feel about what you have to offer? If they are making absurd demands before even signing an agreement, chances are they will be hard to negotiate with the future as well.

Take your time, prepare for interviews and don't be afraid to ask questions. Keep in mind that this process is the road that leads to a happy tenant-landlord relationship and a stress- free future.