A tenant check is a process of comprehensively evaluating prospective tenants by verifying their credit worthiness and performing relevant background checks to establish their suitability and subsequently qualify them for property rental. Some of the commonly used synonyms include tenant background check, tenant screening, and tenant verification. For optimal results, the process involves four major stages as follows:

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FreeImages.com/Aleš Čerin

First Contact

The tenant check and qualification process should begin immediately you’re contacted by a prospective tenant. Whether you’re contacted via telephone, email or physical contact, this stage still holds. In most cases however, prospective tenants use telephone to establish contact and subsequently express their interests in the respective subject properties.

As a landlord or property manager, you should be free to ask any question to get a vivid picture of who you’re dealing with. Some examples include:

  •         What are your full names?
  •         Where do you currently live?
  •         Why are you moving?
  •         How many people are you moving in with?
  •         What’s your occupation?
  •         Do you have any pets?
  •         What your current credit score?
  •         Are you a smoker?
  •         Could you give me references to past landlords?

An honest individual wouldn’t have a problem giving straight answers to all your queries. That means you should be particularly wary of sneaky people who try to dodge any of these questions.

Showing the Property

Prospective tenants who meet your initial first contact standards could be invited for a property showing. This gives the chance to further assess them on a more personal basis to further qualify them. Some of the elements you should be paying attention to include:

  •         Their comments and concerns about your property
  •         Attitude and Manners
  •         Appearance

The Application Process

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This is the stage where you notify qualified prospects that they are free to lodge official applications which will be collectively considered along with others. To ensure quality, advise your respective applicants to fill only factual information in the relevant fields to boost their chances of proceeding to the subsequent stages.

According to an LPA Rental Application provision, you are required to collect a screening fee from your tenant to cater for credit history checks. A poor credit history and inconsistencies or “red flags” in a tenant’s application should be enough to disqualify him/her to focus your attention on other more qualified individuals.

The Approval Process

Since this is the easiest stage, a significant number of landlords focus a lot on the actual approval and forget to pay attention to the last fine details of the tenant screening process.

After congratulating a tenant on emerging successful on the application stage, invite them for lease signing. This should be an opportunity for you to learn if the tenant is punctual and serious about keeping his end of the deal. Set the date, time and place and inform the applicant on the actual amount you expect plus other relevant papers including identification.

Finally, you can only issue the keys after everything has been cleared and subsequent lease documents signed.