Common Questions When Screening Prospective Tenants
When you own a rental property, one of the most important things you need to take care of is finding good tenants. With a good tenant, you can rest easy at night, knowing that the rent will get paid and that your property will be taken care of. On the other hand, having a problem tenant can cost you thousands of dollars a month and even more in legal fees, not to mention the time and stress involved.
We understand it’s not always easy to identify a good tenant from a lousy one. To get a good idea of who the best tenants are before you hand over your keys, you should be prepared to tackle some of the most common concerns when screening applications.
Most Common Questions When Qualifying Tenants
1. Should I Run a Criminal Background Check When Qualifying Tenants?
As a landlord, you should always think about the safety of the community, yourself, the tenant, and your rental property. Running a criminal history check will help you evaluate a prospective tenant based on any relevant criminal offences on their record. If an applicant has passed a criminal background check, it may be a good indicator that you can trust them with your property and the community.
2. What is a Good Credit Score for Tenants?
Pulling a tenant’s credit will provide more insight into the tenant’s past credit history. A credit report includes a history of late payments, hefty loans, open bankruptcies, and other significant issues. At Service Star Realty, our ideal applicant has a credit score of 600 or above. For those with a credit score from 550–599, we require an additional Security Deposit, while those with a score of 549 and below are not approved.
3. What Are the Trusted Ways of Verifying Income?
Before signing a lease agreement, you will want to get a better view of their ability to pay rent on time. You need tenants with a stable, reliable income who are willing to provide proof. Paycheck stubs and Tax Returns are the most trusted ways of verifying income, while bank statements can serve as supporting documents. Having these financial documents on hand will allow for a more accurate evaluation.
4. How Do I Check a Prospective Tenant’s Rental History?
When doing your landlord verification, make sure to cross-check all addresses and owners on record. Sometimes, addresses get omitted from applications, or the names do not match. Either way, this could be a red flag. When we screen tenants, we always look for how they have treated their previous rental homes. The process is time-consuming, but it helps us to get a more accurate picture of the tenant.
In addition, you may want to reconsider renting to those with evictions, judgments, or any debt owed to property management companies/landlords over the last four years. While tenant screening can never be truly perfect, keeping a set of qualifications gives you objective data for vetting your applicants.
At Service Star Realty, placing the right tenant in your rental is one of our most important responsibilities as your Phoenix property manager. We recognize the importance of finding someone who will fulfill their lease term, give proper notice, and allow us to plan for a shorter vacancy—who will care enough about their credit to leave your Phoenix rental property in good shape and pay their balance on their way out.
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