Screening tenants in Warner Robins is one of the most important tasks you will have as a landlord. Learn about what to watch out for in our latest post! If screening tenants becomes a job you don’t want anymore, call us.
When choosing who you want to live in your house, the process can be overwhelming. Someone may look great on paper but be the opposite in person and vice versa. A great landlord will leave no stone unturned in learning about potential tenants. Here are a couple ways we, as professional landlords, screen our tenants.
We, like many other landlords, ask for referances. There are some applicants who try to forge a reference, giving inaccurate information. Maybe they will give you a friend’s number, having that person pose as a former landlord or boss. Or worse yet, maybe they will have a friend who is a business owner say you worked for them, when in fact they never did. We actually don’t specify what kind of reference we are asking for, so they can’t lie about who is on the other end when we call. Lying on your application is illegal, but that doesn’t stop people who are desperate to move in. In this case, we will refer to wrong information when we call the referred person and see if they correct us. This works well in finding the friend posing as a “Boss”. If you have any suspicion about your potential tenant’s references, don’t be afraid to dig a little deeper.
Catching A Falsehood
Being a good professional landlord, we are not afraid to ask hard questions, in person, when we meet applicants. If you discover someone is lying about their income, employment, or past living situations, ask them why. What is the applicant going to do, hit you? Get mad? You’re protecting your business. And if they are lying on the application, what else are they going to start lying to you about? We have had many applicants admit to some bad things when they find out how deep we are willing to investigate. Being non-judgmental has helped people open up to us. They want the house, so they put everything on the table hoping honesty will prevail.
Bad situations happen to all tenants and landlords no matter who you are. However, letting someone move in who may not be able to pay rent should be avoided at all costs. Someone can be a great person and a great tenant, but they still carry an eviction on their record. Try to find out why they got evicted. Get their side and ask for the landlord’s contact to ask them. The mark of a good property manager is willing to investigate. Sometimes the eviction is only a bad circumstance, not responsibility. That said, consider a past eviction a point to check and looked into further, but don’t completely eliminate the applicant because it.
If someone has changed jobs a lot, it is likely something you will need to ask some questions about. People who have a hard time holding down a job may not be able to make their rent payments on time each month. Changing jobs by choice is ok, but if your potential tenant can’t keep a job, you might want to move on to the next application. Your potential for good profits with come from long-term tenants, someone who bounces around with their employment, may not be ready to look for a living situation that will be long-term.
On the other hand, we do not grade against people getting better or higher paying jobs in the same industry. If an applicant moving up the ladder, that is a good thing. It shows responsibility and motivation.
There are a number of things that can affect someone’s credit. You should have a minimum credit score that you’ll accept, and if someone’s credit is questionable, look to see what kind of credit marks they have. Some people have damaged credit due to an ex or even a parent. Or maybe they are paying off medical bills or college loans. Those are credit problem we don’t worry about (too much) with a potential tenant.
Now, if they have maxed out credit cards and bad debt from a cell phone or car dealer, that will be a “pass”. While a credit score can tell you a lot about someone, it won’t tell you everything.
A good property manager looks at the story behind the credit. Are they trying to better themselves or hurting themselves?
Screening tenants is one of the most important tasks that a landlord has to do. While it may seem cumbersome to dig up all the details on your potential tenant, doing so will help to ensure you are not bringing someone into the house that will damage the property or fail to pay rent on time each month.
It is always better to spend an extra week on screening potential tenants than spend an extra month paying for repairs and an eviction.
Do you have questions about screening tenants in Warner Robins? We can help you get answers and find the best properties available! Contact us today! (478) 256-9947