01 Feb Rental Application
The most important part of the tenant screening process is the rental application. When trying to find the right tenant, you can save yourself a lot of time by knowing what questions you should ask potential tenants on the rental application. Additionally, knowing how to use the information provided by prospective tenants is very important. As a landlord, your primary concerns are, making sure the rent is paid on time, and maintaining the condition of your rental property. The rental application should paint a picture of the prospective tenant’s finances and reliability in paying rent. Although it can be difficult to choose an ideal tenant from a collection of applicants, just remember. There are good tenants, and there are bad tenants. While no tenant screening method is guaranteed, you will have a better chance of finding a great tenant for your rental by having a through screening process. With this in mind, we offer some insight on how to use the information provided by prospective tenants .
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws…
What To Look For On The Rental Application
While it goes without saying that the rental application should be filled out completely. You would be surprised at how many applicants leave out information. If this is the case, it is a red flag! Missing information could signal the tenant is trying to hide something. So, be cautious. That said, make sure you throughly review their employment, current income level, lifestyle information, financial information, and personal references. Look for things like gaps in their rental history, and length of employment. And while this may seem obvious, if their current income level does not cover the rent plus utilities. Do not waste your time!
Consistent Rental History
For most tenants, this will not be the first rental they have applied for. That said, look for a consistent and positive rental history. While there are many reasons a tenant may have gaps in their rental history. What you want to do is account for is at least five years of residence history. This will allow you to see if there are any patterns such as if the tenants moves around a lot. It is important to contact all previous landlords to ensure the tenant was a good tenant. Ask questions such as, did the tenant pay their rent on time. You will find that prior landlords are happy to tell the truth. If for any reason a landlord had to evict the tenant or mentions the tenant caused damage to their property, stop. There is no sense in spending anymore time when receiving this kind of feedback.
Employment History & Proof Of Income
- Request several years of employment history
- It allows you to see if they are stable or not
- Verify their employment (i.e. if they are employed there or not)
- Ask for recent pay stubs
- A W2
- Or employment offer letter
- And make sure the tenant’s gross income is at least three times the rent amount
Even if you require the proper proof you can end up with falsified documents, see tenant screening scams…
Credit Check & Background Check
With the credit report, you can see how much debt the prospective tenant has. By using this along with the income they reported, you can determine if they can afford the rent. While this is not all a credit report tells you, this is your chance to get a neutral third-party (the credit bureau) to tell you about the tenant’s credit worthiness. As a landlord, it all comes down to minimizing your exposure. For this reason, getting a background check is important. The key to choosing the right tenant, is to have quality background check information. Not only does it help you make your decision, it allows you to see if any criminal activity is in their past.
As a landlord, you have to screen every potential tenant; there is simply too much at risk if you don’t!
Online Rental Application
As the use of online applications increases, renters will gravitate toward property management companies that offer them. In fact, today people are more likely to apply for your rental if you offer online rental applications. Online rental applications are quick and easy. Not only do they allow people to apply for your property when they are browsing online, people prefer them for their convenience and ease of use. Online rental applications allow prospective tenants to submit rental applications, and authorize credit checks and background checks.
When In Doubt
Instead of juggling the stress of rental applications and the tenant screening process, hire a professional team to do the work for you. We make it easier to find and keep quality tenants. If you need help automating your rental process and want to include things like online rental applications, and online rental payments, we can help. We manage single-family homes, condos, and apartment buildings throughout the San Diego area. Whether you are interested in changing property managers, or simply looking to hire a property management company for the first time, Rancho Mesa Properties can help. We take care of all types of residential rental properties including homes, condos, multiplexes such as duplex and triplexes, and even small apartment buildings. Let us manage your rental properties, so you can enjoy your life! Call us today at (858) 576-2176. We will save you time, money, and the stress that comes along with managing your own rentals.