The Owner’s Guide to Finding Tenants: How to Screen Candidates

For a rental property owner, finding tenants is one of the trickier parts of the job. You want tenants that are reliable, dependable, and prompt with their rent payments. But it can be difficult to tell what kind of tenant a person will be just by meeting them.

This is why properly screening all of your property’s tenants is so important. There’s a whole process to this, and it’s crucial you don’t skip any steps. Doing this could result in you allowing unsavory characters to come into your hard-earned rental homes.

Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about tenant screening. Read on to learn more.

Outline Your Requirements

As a landlord, you’ll need to come up with your own list of criteria your tenants should fill. For example, a more lenient landlord may not ask for much documentation beyond a social security number. This is a risky way to fill your properties, however.

Generally speaking, you will want to hear from references, previous landlords, and maybe even check their credit or see their bank balance. The more detailed you are in your screening, the more likely it is you’ll find a stellar tenant.

Be Aware of the Law

In certain states, there are laws preventing you from asking your tenants certain questions. There are also laws applicable in some states that prevent you from discriminating against Section 8 tenants. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with the local law so you make sure you are abiding by it.

Learn More About Them

You should learn as much as you can about your prospective tenants. You can do this by checking certain documents—bank statements, pay stubs, social security number—and also by speaking with references they provide.

Professional references can speak to their character and let you know how secure their employment position and thus income stream is. References from former landlords will allow you to see what kind of tenants they were in the past.

Tenant Screening Questions

There are some screening questions it’s suggested landlords ask their tenants. You’ll also probably have some you’ll have come up with on your own. Some examples

  • what date do you want to move in?
  • how long are you looking to stay?
  • why are you moving from your current home?
  • what’s your monthly income?
  • do you have any pets?

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Being a landlord often pulls you in many different directions at once. It can be hard to do a thorough job of screening each and every tenant, but that’s what you need to do. If you’re overextended, it can be a good idea to hire a property management company to help you with some of the daily tasks associated with being a rental property owner.

Make Finding Tenants a Breeze

If you’re having trouble finding tenants that are reliable and respectful of your rental property, it may be time to rethink your tenant screening process. At Outland Real Estate, we’d be happy to help. We’ll take care of all of your property management needs—get in touch today.