As a landlord, the worst thing you can do is trust every tenant who applies for a rental. While screening may seem tedious, it can mean the difference between honest tenants and the ones who trash your property and/or refuse to pay rent on time. However, even a thorough screening process may not be able to highlight troublesome boarders. If you want to get the right tenant for your property, avoid making the following mistakes.
1. Ignoring Photo ID
A potential tenant is a blank slate to a landlord, so accepting anyone who answers your ad is not a good strategy. Asking for photo identification will go a long way in weeding out applicants who have something to hide either about their past or their current situation.
Without a photo ID, you won’t find information about them online or from local authorities. After all, how many Skylars or Sophias do you think are in South Carolina alone? Needless to say, applicants who cannot provide ID proof should be turned away.
2. Failing to Verify Income
This is one of the most common mistakes a landlord can make. Unfortunately, it can also be the most financially devastating setback. Think about it. If your tenant lies about their income, how can you be sure they will be able to pay the monthly rent on time? If they cannot afford the rent, you may be looking at months of stress as you find yourself short on cash.
To ensure that this does not happen, make sure you get the relevant documents. This includes copies of paychecks, tax returns, and, if possible, a letter from their last landlord/current employer that can confirm the authenticity of said documents. A good rule of thumb is to screen for tenants whose income is at least three times the monthly rental rate.
3. Not Checking Criminal Records
This can prove costly, and not just financially. Even if you have been lucky enough to get law-abiding tenants, there is no guarantee that the next ones will not have a criminal record. Some may have felonies on their rap sheet, while others may have done time for drug possession or vandalism. Can you tell the difference between innocent tenants and the ones with a criminal record?
You can save yourself the stress by checking each applicant’s criminal record before handing them the keys. This includes registered sex offenders, or you may face backlash from the neighbors and the law and end up lose tenants!
The good news is that you can leave this to the property manager. This is where Patton Properties can help. With over 40 years in the business, we can help you out. Get in touch with us today!