Are you looking for ways to attract responsible and high-paying leads? Or perhaps you’re struggling to reduce your tenancy turnover rates? We’ve got all the answers you need in this concise and comprehensive article.
This post looks beyond renovations and rental prices to explore the best ways to find and keep quality tenants.
Why Screening is Essential to Finding Quality Tenants
- To Protect Your Property
While you are the property owner, whoever you sign a lease with will spend more time on the premises than you. Thus, the day-to-day maintenance and care of your rental units fall on the shoulders of your tenants. Since you would essentially be entrusting your residents with your investment, you need a tenant screening guide. This measure would help ensure they are responsible people that can protect your property from unnecessary damage.
- To Avoid Issues with Rent
Tenants with a history of late rental payments are more likely to continue paying late at the expense of their landlords. In other words, if you notice an applicant has a delinquent history, you might have to endure the same problem too. The same is true for applicants that have a pattern of making prompt payments.
- To Reduce Turnover Rates
Bad tenants can cause a lot of friction between both parties, whether due to late rent or property damage. As a result, they might be less inclined to stick around for long. Also, if you own a condo, a problematic tenant could make life difficult for other residents, who might also decide to move.
Steps to Tenant Screening
- Determine Your Criteria
A thorough tenant screening starts before you even put up an ad. The first thing to do to find a quality tenant is to determine your criteria. What income bracket should they belong to? What’s your policy on smoking, and are you willing to accommodate someone with a criminal history? Those are essential questions that can help you form the right rental qualification criteria. Industry experts recommend having this criterion in writing to help you dispute discrimination claims.
- Conduct a Pre-Screening Interview
After setting your requirements, you should conduct a pre-screening interview. Set up a chat, phone call, or video conference with your prospective applicants to ask a few questions. It’s good to have a draft beforehand to avoid running out of things to talk about. Also, it would be wise to scan it repeatedly and ensure none of your questions violate the fair housing policy. You could also create a list of questions to ask tenant references.
- Create and Collect Application Forms
Next, create a uniform application form for each candidate and collect more information for a later review. Ideally, it would help if you inquired about their employment history, credit score, and previous landlord evictions. Feel free to charge a small fee for this form, as it might discourage less serious candidates from applying.
- Run a Background Check
A tenant screening wouldn’t be complete without running a background check. You should conduct an income verification, credit, and criminal history check at this stage. With employers, you should confirm your prospective tenant’s employment history and get an estimate of their salary. Now would be the perfect time to weed out applicants with discrepancies in their stories.
- Double-check References
Finally, round off your tenant screening by double-checking each candidate’s references. It’s especially crucial you get feedback from their past landlords to know what to expect. You might ask previous property owners if they were well-behaved, prompt with rental payments, or had frequent disputes with the neighbor. If you’re speaking with the prospective tenant’s friends or family, you could ask about their character and recreational habits. After you’ve collected all the necessary information, you can make an informed choice.
Tips for a Great Landlord-tenant Relationship to Keep Quality Tenants
- Set Clear Rules
Maintaining a healthy relationship with your tenants is an excellent well to establish mutual respect and make them more mindful of the property. Thus, it would be in your best interest to set clear rules as early as possible. Pre-existing guidelines about property care and use make it easier to correct a defaulting tenant. Also, residents are more likely to adhere to written rules they can see rather than the fine print in a lease.
- Be Accommodating with Rental Payments
Rent is often a major source of conflict between landlords and tenants. If you want to avoid that hassle, consider making rental payments more accommodating. Expanding your options to three or four popular payment methods lets tenants choose what is most convenient and avoid late fees.
- Respond to Tenant Complaints Promptly
Poor maintenance culture is offputting to residents and can increase turnover rates. Make yourself as accessible as possible, and reply to tenant complaints promptly. Also, it would help if you endeavored to communicate effectively about any delays or how long a repair will take.
The success of your rental business hinges on the kind of tenants you have. A thorough tenant screening could be between excess expense on repairs or a well-maintained property. Besides, it would help if you did not underestimate the power of establishing a healthy landlord-tenant relationship. However, consider hiring a property manager if you have difficulty following through with the outlined steps or communicating effectively with your tenants. By taking up such duties, such professionals could be a valuable asset that ensures your rental business’ success.