Tenant screening is a very important part of the rental process. It can make or break your property and your success as a landlord. Getting the right tenant in your property takes a little bit of work, but it’s worth it. If you have the wrong tenant in your property, a number of things can go wrong. You can end up having to evict, or the tenant can end up taking advantage of you or destroying your investment property. These are some of the things we do as a Patterson and Modesto area property management company when we’re screening tenants.

Application Process

You must collect a completed application for anyone 18 years or older who plans to live in the home. This is your opportunity to collect all the pertinent information you’ll need to do background checks. You might also need the application information if you find yourself in court.

Credit Check

Do a credit check on everyone who fills out an application so you can see their creditworthiness. In recent years, people have struggled with maintaining good credit, so you have to be willing to rely on other factors when you’re screening.

Rental History

Call previous landlords to verify an applicant’s rental history. When you call, start with a basic checklist of questions such as – did they pay rent on time? Were there any complaints? Did any rent checks bounce? Then, you need to ask deeper questions. Don’t volunteer the property address; ask the former landlord to verify it. This will help you confirm that the person you are talking to is the actual landlord or property manager, and not just a friend who has been listed on the application. Be sneaky so prospective tenants don’t take advantage of you.

Income Verification

There are many ways to verify income. You can call the tenant’s employer or ask for paystubs. People can create paystubs these days, so take extra steps. Call the company and see if you can speak to the employee. If you find out that no one by that name works there, you’ll know the information on your application doesn’t match.

Check for Past Evictions

Run a past eviction check. You don’t want to rent to someone who is a chronic evictee. Some landlords are willing to rent to a tenant who has been evicted in the past. In these cases, it’s a good idea to collect a larger security deposit or require a cosigner.

Criminal Background Checks

Criminal background checks should be part of the tenant screening process, but you cannot discriminate against people with criminal backgrounds. For example, if someone has a DUI, that’s a criminal history but you cannot necessarily deny them housing just for that. You also cannot discriminate against someone who has been incarcerated. If the tenants have had drug trafficking charges against them, you can deny their application because you don’t want to risk having drug activity in your home.

Adrian Harrell - Senior Property ManagerDoing this tenant screening work up front will help you find a high quality tenant, and build the foundation of a healthy and great relationship with that tenant.

Using professional property management Patterson or Modesto, CA services can help you screen and place an outstanding tenant. If you have any questions, please contact us at New Bridge Management.