As you can imagine, a poorly screened tenant can cost homeowners thousands of dollars in unpaid rent and property damage. When you’re screening, it has to be thorough and detailed so you can find the best resident for your property.
Formal Written Application
First, you need to have a standardized application form. It should request identifying information such as names of all occupants, dates of birth, employment information, and current address. It’s important that the application also gives you permission to run a background check, contact current and previous landlords, and also verify employment.
Obtain Proof of Income
You need to know the applicant can afford to pay the rent you’re asking. You can verify income by looking at paystubs, their most recent tax returns, and award letters from third-party organizations or programs like Section 8. You can also ask to see court documents that verify income such as alimony.
Reach out to current and previous employers. Ask for basic information like how long have they been with the company, what is their annual or monthly income, and whether there will be any foreseeable changes in their employment status such as furlough days or layoffs.
Contact current and previous landlords to put together a rental history. Ask for information about the tenancy, such as how long they lived in the property, if they ever paid their rent late, and if there were any complaints from neighbors or city officials.
Credit Report and History
Obtain a credit report. The FICO score will give you a rough idea of how this person performs in terms of paying their debt, loans, and other financial bills. Look at the report as well as the score. Someone with a lower score might have things that aren’t relevant to you. There might be some medical collections or bills that are less than $200, which may or may not be super-significant or relevant to you as a landlord.