Checklist for Finding AAA Qualified Tenants

Finding AAA qualified tenants for your rental condominium can be a process. Rather than cut corners in the interest of time and effort, you’d be wise to put in the elbow grease involved with an extensive screening process. Potential tenants can be crafty, and failing to do your due diligence may leave you with more headache than the screening process itself. On top of this, it may leave you with financial setbacks due to a bad tenant abusing your property or failing to pay rent. But how do you choose a good tenant? How do you know the potential tenant isn’t simply putting on a show to win you over? We’ve all heard the horror stories related to “professional scammers” who meet you in full suit, speak eloquently, present themselves professionally, and turn out to be a tenant from hell. Avoiding these scenarios isn’t always easy, but implementing a proper screening process can greatly limit the likelihood of you ending up with a bad tenant. Here are the steps necessary to avoid being scammed by a prospective tenant:

Application Form:

If you were an employer looking to hire a potential employee, you’d require the candidate to fill out an application form, yes? Well this should be no different. After all, being a landlord is a business venture in itself. Sample application forms can be found online, or you can request a sample rental application from your local real estate association. You can also create one yourself using a Microsoft Office template. These applications should state that a full criminal background check and credit check will be required, and that the tenant is authorizing a check into his or her financial, employment and personal history. In addition, it should cover the tenant’s financial information, employment information, and personal information including SIN.

Run a Credit Check:

Next on the list is a credit check. This is absolutely crucial. If the tenant doesn’t pay their other bills on time or at all, can you really expect them to pay your monthly fees timely and routinely? You can request the credit check from the tenant directly, asking them to cover the cost, or you can do it yourself. The choice is yours. If the tenant refuses the credit check, there is a good chance that they are trying to cover up a bad credit score. With that said, they may simply be worried about an inquiry affecting their credit. Ask questions, and use your best judgment.

Run a Background Check:

There are companies who are able to offer employee background checks for free. You can also find websites who will offer full online tenant screening, background checks and criminal reports. You typically only need the tenant’s social security number, and you’re off to the races.

Contact the Tenants Employer:

Ok, so the application form is complete, the credit check and background checks look good. Now, it’s time to actually contact the tenant’s employer yourself. Speaking with the employer will give you peace of mind knowing that the tenant has steady work and a consistent flow of income. What’s more is that the employer can give you insights into the tenant’s personality.

Contact the Tenants Previous Landlord:

This is arguably more important than contacting the employer, as the past landlord has insights directly related to how the tenant treats the tenant/landlord relationship; they can tell you if the tenant paid rent on time, and if they were generally respectful and agreeable.

Interview the Tenant:

Everything has checked out so far? Good. Now comes the really important part. Interview the tenant. The interview process will allow you to ask specific questions that the previous steps may not have been able to address, and it will give you direct and personal insight into whether or not the tenant will be a good fit. Here are some good questions to ask:

  • Are you aware that we will require first and last months’ rent? Will this be an issue?
  • Why are you moving?
  • When are you looking to move?  
  • How long do you intend to rent the property for?
  • Are you a smoker?
  • Do you have any pets?
  • Have you ever been evicted?
  • How many people will be living in the apartment?
  • Do you have any questions for me?

Remember, the above questions are a guideline. You should ask questions that are important to you, and omit questions that aren’t. You are OK with pets? Good, because a “no-pets” clause is unenforceable in any case. You can omit that question. What if pets are an issue? Well, you can’t evict a tenant for owning a pet, but you can refuse to rent to someone who admits to having one. So ask away!

Following this process will greatly limit the likelihood of a problem tenant. This may seem like a lot of work, but luckily you have The Bahl Team to help. Working with a property management company will ensure that a professional is handling your investment with the utmost care and attention to detail.

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TKM Admin

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