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Tenant Screening Tips for Property Managers

Posted by Joseph Slonimsky on Feb 19, 2013 2:00:00 PM
Joseph Slonimsky
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Tenant_Screening_Tips_for_Property_ManagersIt’s no secret that one of the best ways to manage risk as a property manager is to make sure the people who are living in your properties are trustworthy. A bad tenant can lead to everything from destruction of property to costly and drawn out eviction proceedings – something no landlord or property owner wants to ever have to deal with. Tenant screening can help you weed out the less favorable renters, thereby reducing your risk of ending up with a problem down the road. Here are some helpful tips on getting the most of screening your prospects for the best possible results.

Make sure that every applicant completes the application completely

Something left out may seem like a simple oversight, but it could easily be a purposeful attempt to omit or hide something unsavory. You should also make sure that your application contains waivers for credit and background checks. If any prospect refuses to sign, move on to the next one. It’s not worth the risk.

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Insist on references and call every one of them

Ask specific questions, such as whether or not the tenant has ever been late with rent payment, and whether or not the landlord ever had to take the tenant to landlord/tenant court. The more detailed the information you gather, the easier it will be to carefully evaluate each prospect.

Conduct a background check

Everyone makes mistakes, and not everyone with a mark on their record is a bad candidate for tenancy, but certain things, such as domestic disputes or destruction of property are red flags of who to steer clear of.

Ask to do a walk-through of their current residence

If they’ve got nothing to hide, they’ll likely agree which will give you the opportunity to see the condition of their residence now. This will give you insight into what you might expect if you choose to rent to them. If they refuse, or seem evasive, keep that in mind when considering your options.

Have a thorough, clearly written and defensible lease and insist on each and every tenant signing it prior to taking up residency

If you haven’t done so already, you may want to consult with a real estate attorney to ensure that your lease contains everything needed to ensure that you will be protected if need be down the road, and that the verbiage within is clear and easy to understand.

Finally, the most important step in screening prospective tenants is having patience

An empty property may have a negative impact on your cash flow, but rushing to get someone in without doing your due diligence first can have a much worse affect in the long run. As a property management professional, being patient and carefully screening each and every prospect will place you in a much better position for success both now and well into the future and improve your chances of landing that perfect long-term tenant.

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Get your free copy of The Property Manager's Guide to Proactive Management. And make the time necessary to plan for an extraordinary future.


Topics: Productivity, Blog, News, Property Management

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