The tenants you have in your income property make all the difference in the world. With a good tenant, you get the peace of mind you need, knowing that the rent will be paid on time and that the property will stay in good condition. However, with a bad tenant, you’re up all night worrying about your property’s condition, wondering how late the rent will be and running through dozens of worst-case scenarios.
If you have the best West Palm Beach property manager for your needs, you won’t have to worry about screening tenants – your manager will handle that for you.
How the Best Property Managers Screen Tenants
The biggest challenge many property owners face is that anyone can act like a great tenant when they’re applying for a property, and it’s hard to determine whether someone has a bad rental history or payment history just by talking to them. That’s where a good property manager can be an invaluable asset; he or she will screen potential tenants and dig up all the information you need to make a decision before you allow someone to sign a lease.
- Require prospective tenants to fill out applications
- Run credit checks
- Run background checks that include evictions, criminal records and public records
- Contact previous landlords
- Contact employers to verify employment
- Interview tenants
Applications: The First Necessity
When you have a good property manager on your side, he or she will require every prospective tenant to fill out an application. The application will ask for:
- Financial information
- Employment information
- Personal information (including whether the person has pets, what types of vehicle he or she drives and more)
A good application also grants the landlord permission to run a credit check and criminal background check.
Your property manager can evaluate a prospective tenant’s answers to all the questions on the application to determine whether he or she is a good fit for your property.
Credit Checks for Prospective Tenants
A person’s credit history tells you how good they are at staying current on their debts. Your property manager will look for a history of late payments, collection accounts and charge-offs, as well as watch for red flags like bankruptcy. He or she will also check to see if the prospective tenant has maxed out all his or her credit cards, which could be a sign that the tenant would have a hard time making rent each month.
If your property manager has your prospective tenant’s consent, he or she can run a criminal history check, search for past evictions, and scour public records that may indicate whether a person is a good fit for your property.
Contacting Previous Landlords
Before you offer someone a lease, you want to know why they’re moving from their current living quarters and how their last landlord felt about having them as tenants. Your property manager will ask the applicant’s current landlord:
- Does the person owe you money?
- Does the person pay rent on time?
- Has the person caused damage to the home?
- Were there any major issues between this person and neighbors?
- Will you return this person’s security deposit?
- Would you be comfortable renting another place to this person?
Unfortunately, it’s not hard to forge pay stubs and bank statements – but a good property manager will ask for the prospective tenant’s employer’s contact information and take steps to ensure that he or she is actively employed and attempt to verify that he or she makes the same amount that’s listed on pay stubs or tax returns.
Interviewing Prospective Tenants
A good property manager takes the time to interview prospective tenants to ask important questions, like:
- Do you have any pets, and if you do, are they house-trained?
- Will you plan to get a roommate?
- Do you smoke?
- Will other people be spending a lot of time here with you?
During the interview, your property manager will attempt to find out more about the prospective tenant’s lifestyle to see if it’s a good fit for your rental unit. However, at the same time, your property manager will strictly adhere to the Fair Housing Act.
Do You Need to Talk to a Property Manager About Getting Tenants?
We can help you find the best possible tenants for your income property. Call us at 561-766-2195 today to talk about how we market properties for rent, help our owners maximize profits on rental properties and more.