Every person in the history of being a landlord, thinking about being a landlord, or asking about being a landlord has heard it before: YOU NEED A GOOD TENANT SCREENING PROCESS. You might have heard/said it so often, you hear/say it in your sleep.
I know I have.
A good application and background check process is critical for managing your business effectively. If you have communicative, respectful tenants who pay rent on time, inform you in a timely manner of any issues and take care of your property, you can fully focus on optimizing your business, instead of knocking on doors and trying to track people down.
But, what makes an actual process good? Fundamentally, a good tenant screening process has three key components.
1. Tenant Prequalification
Tenant prequalification essentially standardizes your minimum requirements into one efficient process of determining whether a renter meets the minimum income, credit, pets/smoking, and guarantor info for your unit or not.
Prequalification is a critical first step in tenant screening to ensure that you’re getting qualified tenants from the very beginning. It saves you and tenants time and money by determining immediately if a tenant has the financial, employment, or guarantor requirements for your property.
Take a good look at your application process. Is it pen-and-paper? Through email? What questions are you asking? What documents are you requiring? Do you even HAVE an application process?
Just because your cousin’s best friend’s college roommate’s dog can vouch for your prospective tenant doesn’t mean they are a good tenant. It just means they’re a good buddy of someone you know and good buddies can still skip town with 3 months’ worth of rent in the wind.
An application process ensures that you’re formalizing your tenant screening (always good legally) and asking for documents that authenticate that that good buddy is a good tenant with a good paycheck and a good track record of paying their rent. Verifying your tenant’s information (identity, finances, employment) is an absolute must-have for your process.
3. Tenant Screening (Background Check)
Does your tenant have a criminal record? A great credit score? Have they been evicted before? Well, you’ll never know unless you ask for a tenant screening. It’s equally as shocking when landlords confess to not requiring applications as it is to hear of not requiring a tenant screening.
Running a tenant-paid screening is critical for verifying your tenant’s information and/or flagging any high-risk tenants. Trust me, it’s worth every penny. (And at RentRedi, it’s tenant-paid.)
Screening can be a roadblock to some landlords in the application process. Yes, you prequalify. Yes, you have an application. And now another step? You have a unit to fill, we get it. But tenant screening is so critical to securing that highly sought-after, high-quality tenant.
To ensure that landlords can still get that precious tenant screening without increasing vacancy time during turnover, we made it automatic. Or, as we like to say, “auto-magic”. (Okay, me. I like to say auto-magic.)
Basically, we gave landlords the option to make tenant-paid screening the last step in their application, so, like magic, you get a completed application AND tenant screening at once.
If you’ve heard us say it once—you’ve heard us say it a million times. But we’ll say it once more: GOOD TENANT SCREENING IS IMPORTANT. ES MUY IMPORTANTE. C’EST TRÈS IMPORTANT. It’s so important, we wrote it in a few other languages. Just in case.
Consider your current tenant screening process objectively and ask yourself where it could benefit from a little revamping. Tenant prequalification, applications, and screening are all critically designed components to ensure you’re finding high-quality tenants.