The Ultimate Guide to Tenant Screening
Screening tenants properly is one of the smartest steps you can take while managing your Columbia, SC rental property. Not only will it help you find a tenant that is easy to work with, but it will also protect your investments. Here’s our ultimate guide to tenant screening.
The Screening Process
Have a Screening Policy
Take the guesswork out of the difficult screening process by having a written screening policy that clearly outlines the rules and standards. This will eliminate unnecessary risk and protect you if an applicant claims discrimination or an unfair screening process.
Check Rental History
This is sometimes seen as a difficult and time-consuming process. However, this step will further protect your rental property investment. Speak to past landlords and ask them how the applicant adhered to the lease agreement. Did they pay on time every month? Would they rent to them again? Did they have any challenges? Getting answers to these questions will help you decide whether or not you want to approve their application and have them officially become your tenant.
Verify Employment and Income
Without job and income verification, it’s impossible to know if the potential tenant will pay rent on time each month. To verify, ask for the last two months of pay stubs that include the year-to-date income. Divide the year-to-date income by the number of months in order to find out their average monthly income. You may also want to ask for their employer number to verify that the applicant is still employed. After employment and income verification, you can make a decision on whether or not they’ll be able to afford rent.
Check for a Criminal Record
Perform a background check to reveal the applicant’s criminal history. Depending on the crime, you may want to deny their application. In the end, however, it’s at the landlord’s discretion as to whether or not they want to look past their criminal history.
Perform a Credit Check
Many landlords believe that credit score is the most important factor to consider when screening a tenant. Contrary to popular belief, credit score isn’t the be-all end-all of tenant screening. Instead of simply looking at their credit score, evaluate their credit report to its entirety. This includes length of credit history, credit inquires, payment history, open and closed accounts, collection account, and loan applications. You’ll have a better understanding of their financial obligations and responsibility.
Thorough Tenant Screening & Selection in Columbia, SC
Selecting the wrong tenant can lead to a costly mistake. At Real Property Management Columbia, SC, our thorough screening complies with all pertinent laws, including Fair Housing and Fair Credit Reporting Act. We’ll help you find a qualified tenant and schedule a lease signing as soon as possible. If you need help screening tenants, contact our team today.