explainingThere are many moving parts to the process of finding and accepting a new tenant to a property. Repairs from the last tenant or owner must be made, then you'll put the property on the market, and then the screening begins. It can be a little overwhelming, especially if it's your first property as a landlord. One thing that will help ease the stress a little will be setting down a set of policies on how you will choose your new tenant.

The first thing you'll need to do when forming up your policies is to check and make sure that they line up with the local and federal laws. You cannot discriminate against an applicant, and setting solid policies is a great way to make sure it doesn't even look like you are trying to. If you screen every applicant in the same way and choose between them using the same guidelines (as long as those guidelines abide by the Fair Housing laws) then it will help keep any false accusations from flying.

When you list the property for rent you'll want to know what you're looking for to begin with. What range of income are you looking for? What range in credit score? Will you accept any kind of criminal record at all, and if so, to what degree? There are a wide range of questions you'll need to be able to answer for yourself before you actually put the property on the market. Writing these down is always a good practice so that you don't accidentally pick and choose.

Some new landlords might try to choose a new tenant simply by meeting them, but often when it comes to new tenants the old cliche about 'not choosing a book by its cover' applies. An applicant may show up looking like he or she is heading to a board meeting, but once they're in the property they'll never pay a dime of rent and you have found yourself in a lengthy eviction process. On the other end, an applicant may look like they spend more time on the beach than they do at their job, but when you run the screening you find out that they have an excellent credit score, excellent income, and excellent payment record with prior landlords. Meeting them for the interview process may provide you some level of comfort, but it's not always necessary.

POSTED August 25 2014 2:16 PM

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