Tenant screening tips
How to spot the red flags of tenant screening…..
Credit score does not indicate that the tenant will pay rent and will pay on time. You can look at it as more of a personal responsibility score. You can say that a person who doesn’t pay their bills and has a bad credit score has an entitlement mentality. Stay away from a tenant with an entitlement mentality and risky behavioral patterns.
Credit score will tell you the tenant’s desire to pay rent and will be an indication of future personal behaviors.
The single predictor of tenants who will pay their rent on time is their credit report and credit score. A bad credit score is a deal breaker in itself.
It is clear if tenants are not making enough in their monthly paycheck, they will not be able to pay the rent. In general, look for a minimum income that is at least 2.5 to 3 times the monthly rent.
A criminal conviction can be a huge red flag. Get more information and evaluate carefully.
Bad landlord references.
This should not be your main indicator for determining the eligibility of applicants. Far too many landlords ask tenants to leave, only to give them a great reference. Few tenants can ask friends to pretend they are a landlord and say great things about them. Still, sometimes you can get important information.
Was the entire deposit returned? If not, why? Not getting most of the deposit back is a huge red flag. Late payments are a problem. Terminating a lease early can be an issue. Not giving proper notice is an issue.
Aggressive or large breeds of dogs.
Tenants who own pit bulls, rottweilers, chows, Akitas, any cross-breed with a wolf, or any mix of the above could be a problem. There have been studies about what kind of people are likely to own these breeds, and these people tend to favour riskier lifestyles. If your tenant applicants have an aggressive breed of dog, avoid them at all costs.
Asking to pay the deposit after move-in.
If tenant applicants don’t have the full deposit at move in, do not rent to them. You will likely never get the full deposit. And you will have a very risky situation.
Looking to move in less than a week.
If tenant applicants need a place right away, it may not be a godsend for your vacant property. Instead, it could be another red flag. Why do they need a place so soon? You need to find out the answers and check if they are convincing.
Living with relatives or in a motel.
When people are living with relatives or in a motel, it is a red flag. This can be a common theme among people who are getting evicted. They move in with relatives and try to save money. After a few months, they attempt to move out. Solid tenants always have a place, and it is usually not with friends and relatives.
If your very first interactions with tenants leave you wanting to pull out your hair, just imagine what it will be like when they have a legal right to the property. Save yourself the headache.
Planning to move mid-lease.
If their rental application shows they are looking for a place well in advance of their current lease termination, they may repeat the pattern. Find out more before taking it further.
Not likely to follow your rules.
If you smell cigarette smoke on applicants who are renting a non-smoking unit, or they are covered in cat hair but swear they don’t own a pet, you have a problem. Casual liars make bad tenants.
Changing jobs too often.
Always prefer applicants with careers, not jobs. Look for applicants who are employed at places that have paid vacations, sick days, health insurance and paid holidays. Otherwise, you may find rent late due to Christmas, kids getting sick, taking time off to go to a wedding, etc.