New Tenant Checklist Every Landlord Should Know

Whether this is your first time in the role of landlord or you are a seasoned veteran, you probably know that choosing a tenant can be one of the most critical and trying facets of the process. The profitable success of your property lies entirely at the hands of an individual or individuals. It goes without saying, then, that you want someone of high-quality, of respect, and someone you can trust. Below is the checklist every landlord should know before signing the contract.

Know What You Are Looking For

Before you start putting up the ads on Facebook, Craiglist, or Zillow, you need to reflect on what you need in a tenant. As a general rule, tenants should make at least three times the amount in rent, of individual or combined income. Moreover, hopeful candidates must be capable and willing to pay rent on time, no exceptions. Also, check for any long-term gaps in employment. If you have candidates who are young, observe their job history. Examine whether it appears to be moving upward, remaining stable, or regressing downward. Ideally, your tenants will hold a stable job with potential for growth. You do not want a tenant with a poor job history.

Meet Them in Person

The way to screen if someone will be a burden of stress on you is to meet them in person. Typically, it’s wise to allow hopeful candidates to call or email you first, so you can ask questions. If they pass your standards, as listed above, you can allow them to take a walkthrough of your property. As they observe the property, ask them questions to determine whether they have the ability to communicate clearly. Feel free to ask them about their prospects for living here, why they are moving, and why they want to live in your particular property.

Perform a Background Check

If they pass your prescreening, you can then request a background check. Background checks are absolutely vital to acquiring the best fit tenant for your rental. Use an authorized service that will perform a background check to seek any past discrepancies. You may find out that he or she has a criminal history, eviction history, or job history of which you were not previously aware. If they do have this history of any kind, carefully analyze his or her circumstances. While it is completely understandable to fear someone with past convictions living in your property, you may want to look into their history to understand why. In addition, look up your state and local laws governing incentives given to landlords who rent to former convicts.

Have Them Send a Credit Check

Like background checks, landlord credit checks are essential to the renting process. There is no better way of knowing whether they will pay your rent then whether they have the funds to pay for it. A credit check can save headaches. If they show a prominent history of failing to pay credit companies, you may want to avoid renting to them. Alternatively, if the candidates are young and have not had the time to acquire suitable credit, consider offering the opportunity for them to co-sign with a responsible parent or relative.

Check Their References

References are tricky, but they should not be disregarded. Some landlords prefer to check references only if they are debating between two potential parties. The reason for this is that references can easily be forged. Whether it is in written or verbal form over the phone, your tenant could have easily given you the number of a friend or family member. Think of it this way: nobody is going to list a reference of someone who will say they dislike the potential tenant.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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