How do you keep your Broward County property in good shape?
Maintenance is part of it but selecting the right tenants is just as important.
You shouldn’t rely on your intuition when selecting a tenant. It’s vital to have a proper screening process.
Keep on reading to get a more in-depth overview of how you should screen your Broward County tenants.
#1: Check their background
Many companies offer background checks. They provide information about the tenant’s credit history, past evictions, criminal activities, and other public records.
The information that’s collected can be useful during your selection process to eliminate potentially problematic tenants from your prospect pool.
#2: Run a credit check
Running a credit check is a vital step as red flags will appear if there’s something out of the ordinary. First, make sure they don’t have any unpaid balances, maxed out credit cards, or late payments. All these signs can point to payment issues in the coming months or years.
Another essential step is checking whether they are heavily in debt.
Smaller incidents don’t necessarily signify that you’ll have problems in the future but if you see a pattern of financial issues, it’s a bad sign and you should continue your search.
#3: Meet prospective tenants
Organize an open house. This way, you get to meet all the prospective tenants. When you talk to them face to face, you’ll get a better understanding of who they are and if you’d want to rent to them.
When you meet the potential renters, it’s your chance to ask them questions. Speak to them in an open and honest way. If you have any particular concerns, speak your mind. You might find out interesting and helpful information about them.
The following are questions you could ask:
- Why are you interested in this property?
- How long are you planning to stay here?
- Do you have any big changes or moves coming in the near future?
- Why are you leaving your previous place?
- How are you doing at work?
- What is the most important thing for you in a rental property?
#4: Have them fill out an application
Don’t let any tenants apply without filling out an official application form. It’s where you gather important information about them. For example, you could inquire about their employment, income level, and financial well-being.
You could also ask for personal references and previous landlords’ contact information as well. This information will help you make better decisions when selecting the right candidate.
#5: Verify the important parts
Data collection is essential. The background and credit checks give you the necessary information, but you shouldn’t solely rely on this data when making your decision.
You should verify the information that the prospective tenants have given to you. Interview key people. For example, previous or current employers and the personal references they gave you. Make sure that these people are independent of each other. This ensures that you are getting high-quality information.
Verification means contacting their previous landlords as well. Most likely, the landlords will be honest with you because they no longer have any underlying interests anymore. Ask them whether the tenant paid rent on time and if their move-out came as a surprise to them.
Additionally, ask if the neighbors complained about anything. If they were loud or if their pets caused any problems, these can serve as potential red flags.
How to deny an applicant after screening?
You need to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Landlords need to notify the candidate that they got a denial as a result of their credit report or related causes. The proper response is an adverse action letter. You need to follow the Fair Housing Act as well.
When you deny an applicant, then have supporting documentation ready. Make sure your actions aren’t against any regulations and laws. When in doubt, consult with an attorney.
Here’s a list of some possible reasons for denial:
- Criminal history
- History of evictions, property damage, or unpaid rent
- Income isn’t enough to support the rent
- You can’t verify their employment
The bottom line: how to effectively screen tenants?
Screening your tenants is an important step for every landlord to take before making your final decision.
Arrange to have an open house to personally meet your prospective tenants. Interviewing them can uncover important aspects to help you in selecting the best candidate in Broward County.
Remember to run credit checks and check their background.
Call or meet with individuals who have prior experience with your candidate. This includes previous and current employers along with their former landlords. Pick at least two references that don’t know each other. This way you can be sure to collect information of the highest quality.