In case you are thinking about renting out your house or any of your property for that matter, keep in mind that the applicant screening process is a vital step. With proper screening, you can select good tenants and save yourself from a lot of trouble in the future. Through this, you will understand the screening process more, learn how to perform the screening itself, and discover how you can obtain authorization from possible tenants before beginning the screening process.
1Screening Prospective Tenants
Screening tenants are not as difficult as it may sound. Through this, you can select tenants based on certain factors, excluding discriminatory elements, such as race, religion, and others. Once you have decided on the characteristics or traits that you prefer in a tenant, you can establish other parameters, such as opting for those who do not have pets and avoiding those who have them. This is an example of an exclusion based on your preference, and it is not because of the tenant himself. Though this may seem daunting, especially since you really do not want to offend anyone or do something illegal, you have to go ahead and follow the legal requirements; and the law does not require you to accept anyone or everyone as your tenants.
It is also crucial to give equal treatment to all tenant applicants, which means you can't ask one to fill out a form and refuse another. It will be helpful to write down all those rental rules and then give copies to all who'll inquire since this illustrates that you're treating everyone the same way. Moreover, application forms must include basic details, like name, address, phone number, and social security number.
2Tenant Details You Should Get
As a landlord and the owner of the property for rent, you must be meticulous in obtaining the right information from your tenants, such as the current address, as well as the names of their previous landlords, including their addresses or contact information. Get the same information as regards to a would-be tenant's current employer and see to it that you obtain details about an applicant's current wages and his credit references.
It's better to ask for references because these people can either support or negate a person's claim that he is a good tenant. All in all, it is your duty as a landlord to obtain proof of identity and evidence of employment from any prospective tenant. One way to do this is by requiring a photocopy of a valid ID and some recent pay stubs.
3Requesting Information From References
It is customary to ask a tenant to provide you with an authorization that gives you the right to request or verify his information. Once you receive a signed authorization from the applicant, you can now have access to his employers or credit references. More often than not, employers or people who have been named as references will not freely share information, which is why you must have that authorization. Without a copy of the release, an employer may not declare that the applicant actually works in that company.
You can then send these people a copy of the release by fax, as it is convenient and acceptable. In the case of a prospective tenant, he must be prepared to provide these details as such is required during the application process. It is also best for applications to be printed and to be formal and professional.
4Creating Your Own Application Forms
It is not a good idea to print your own application forms or even printing something that's from the internet. Everything needs to be professionally done, and one way to do this is by approaching a real estate attorney to draw up an application form for you, which is often two pages long. In case you have any issues as regards to the first draft, you must discuss these with your lawyer to avoid future surprises or problems. For instance, perhaps there are a few questions that you would like to ask your would-be tenants, but maybe such inquiries are considered by the law as discriminatory. Therefore, to prevent future legal problems, consult an attorney and always verify if your questions are allowed by the law.
5Getting Legal Advice And Help
Before printing the legal application forms, consult a lawyer first. After the application form has been finalized and once all questions and issues have been clarified with the help of an experienced real estate attorney, you can now free yourself from worries. Provide these forms to all potential tenants and ask them to fill out the entire form properly. It will also be to your advantage if you provide applicants with copies of the terms and conditions of occupancy. But, like the application form, you should also finalize these details with an attorney first to make sure that you are following the law.
See to it that all prospective tenants properly answer the tenancy application form. More likely than not, those who sign the application form will also be the ones who will sign the lease. Just remember that it is your duty and it is to your benefit if you know everything about the applicants. After selecting the best candidates, you can then file the data, and hopefully, you'll never need these again.
6Keeping Records Of Applications
Keeping the application forms of potential tenants is prudent. You will likely have no need for it, but having such information on hand could be of great help to you in case something comes up later. To illustrate, let's say that one of your tenants is a bachelor who got into a serious accident that prevented him from talking; using the information he provided beforehand, you can then get in touch with his close friends and relatives. These details will be in the tenant's application form.
Moreover, you won't lose anything from keeping a good record, and you can also charge an application fee. In general, a property owner or landlord can collect a fee from would-be tenants. He can then use the money for background checks before finalizing and signing the lease.
7Collection Of Application Fees
It's important to ensure that the application fees do not exceed the screening expenditures, which will likely include criminal background checks, credit history reports, or renting history of a particular applicant. Obtaining a criminal background check via reliable websites is possible. Let's say that the total cost of screening is $25, which means that the application fee must also be the same amount.
Basic screening costs will include credit screening, criminal background checks, and other assessments of an applicant's financial and other records. Avoid thinking about profit when it comes to deciding on the application fee. Your goal is to have enough money to cover the needed screening procedures.
Hopefully, the information above has enlightened you and has given you tips on how to better prepare for tenant selection. Although the entire process can be tedious to both parties, it is crucial. Through proper screening, you see to it that you are only renting to people who will be able to make their monthly payments.