How to Effectively Screen a Tenant

Posted in Blog  
  on May 25, 2016

An eviction will cost you in time, money, and stress. When you accept a tenant into the rental you are trusting them with your property. The key is to make sure that they deserve that trust. While you can't see into the future, you can make an educated decision on which applicant is the best fit by running a thorough tenant screening that will give you an overview of their credit and payment histories.

  • Things to Know Before Running a Tenant Screening Report
    • What You Should Disclose to the Applicant - You should be open and honest about your policies moving into the application process. Be clear with your applicant what you expect so that you do not waste your own time or theirs.
    • What Information Must be Kept Private [Part One I Part Two] - Local and federal laws may dictate what you can share when it comes to a tenant screening and whom you may share it with, but there are also some common sense practices that should be taken into consideration as well. 
    • Pre-Screening Questions - The screening process is your first line of defence against tenants that could cost you money down the way, but you can save time by going through a short pre-screening process that will narrow down your applicant pool to the ones that are truly interested
  • Tips on Tenant Screening
    • 10 Points to Consider - When you go through the tenant screening process, you will want to make sure that you are looking at all of the information that you need. Don't leave a valuable piece of information out of your process.
    • Screen Smarter - You will want to approach your screening process with a gameplan that stretches from your marketing techniques (and the applicants those will bring in) to the lease that you will sign with the tenant that you choose.
    • Don't Miss Something Important - Screening your applicants is important, but you'll want to make sure that the information that they're giving you to run that screening is accurate. 
    • How to Read a Credit Report - Credit reports are an important part of a tenant screening, but there is often a lot of information in one. You will want to know what each section means and how to interpret the information.
    • Understanding Negative Tradelines - You will run a credit report to make sure that you are aware of any marks against your applicant's credit history, but to accurately assess that you will need to understand what a negative tradeline is.
    • Dig Deeper into the Report - There are pieces of a person's credit history that you will want to dig deeper into if you're on the fence about accepting them as your tenant.
    • How to Screen an Applicant Without a Credit History - You may receive an applicant that does not have a credit history for whatever reason. This does not automatically make them a poor choice, and there are still ways to screen them to make sure you are making an educated decision.

Bonus: How to Legally Screen a New Tenant


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