Tenant screening might seem like a tedious and sometimes slightly annoying process, but it’s definitely an important one. Especially these days – Once upon a time, you could simply shake hands and have a conversation with someone, agree to some terms, hand over the keys and everyone was happy. Now, it’s just too easy for someone to lie about who they are, where they work, and even their past rental history. It would be lovely if we could all just trust our prospective renters on their word, but it’s simply not plausible.
 

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FreeImages.com/Mike Johnson

The Tenant Screening Process

Here’s a quick rundown of how the whole thing works:

– The prospective client fills out a rental application, pays an application fee and/or possibly a holding deposit (it’s also a good idea to get copies of government ID – Two pieces is usually sufficient).

– You get said client screened (There are possibly places in your city that you can go and have this done, but it’s usually just quicker and easier to run the scan yourself online).

– You’re provided with information about the prospective client that they may have neglected to disclose to you (such as previous evictions, public records, credit information, criminal records, employment information, etc. Most of them can even tell you if someone’s a part of the Sexual Offenders Registry).

– You decide whether or not you want the tenant to move into your building based on what you see.

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FreeImages.com/Philippe Ramakers

Considerations

You need to remember that nothing’s foolproof. Of course these online screenings can provide you with some information, but you can’t always be sure that it’s completely accurate and/or up to date. For that reason, it’s never a bad idea to do a little research of your own when you’re looking at having someone move into one of your buildings – Call old landlords and references, double check the credit score (again, this can be done on the internet quickly), and call the place of employment to confirm that the client actually works there. It might be a bit of a pain (especially if you’re looking to fill multiple units), but it’s better than having to deal with a nightmare tenant.

What’s your personal screening process?