No homeowner wants vacancy for their rental property, but that doesn’t mean the solution is to rent the home to the first tenant who applies. Though vacancies can be costly, irresponsible tenants are even more costly. Taking careful measures to prevent an undesirable rental will ensure that you rent your home to a credible and responsible tenant who will take care of your biggest investment.
Look For Risk Factors
Very few people have a clean and perfect history, but there are certain red flags that you can’t ignore when you screen a potential renter. The first is a history of evictions. If an applicant has been evicted in the past, it indicates that he is less likely to follow the terms of your lease and make payments on time. A nationwide eviction search will reveal this information and make it possible to avoid a complicated and expensive situation in the future. We simply don’t rent to those with evictions on their records.
In addition, check each applicant’s rental history beyond evictions. Multiple late payments within the last year and poor recommendations from previous landlords send instant signals that an applicant will either cause financial or behavioral problems that you definitely don’t want to occur.
Unverifiable income is another issue that many landlords encounter. Even if an applicant’s credit score is satisfactory, it’s important to double check that the applicant has a steady stream of income and makes more than enough to pay rent. Our guideline insists that an applicant makes 3 times the monthly rent, per month. Otherwise, you are putting yourself in a position of late or missing rent payments a few months down the road. Do a bit of research online about the applicant’s employer, confirm the phone number given, and ask for pay stubs and/or tax returns to ensure all information provided is legitimate. For retired individuals, simply ask for bank statements to make sure they have sufficient savings.
Just Remember Fair Housing Laws
It is your right as a landlord to sort through and deny unqualified applications based on credit, income, or rental history, but always remember your federal and local Fair Housing Laws. Race, gender, religion, and familial status are not legal reasons to turn down an otherwise qualified applicant. However, rejecting an applicant based on financial responsibility and rule-abiding behavior is always legitimate.
By working with a property management agency of high standings, you can ensure that any applicant potentially renting your home has been fully screened and checked before being approved as a tenant. You can rest easy knowing that your home is in good hands and the chances of any major problems are as minimal as possible.