Are you planning to start screening tenants for your Seal Beach, CA, rental property? Or have you been screening but still end up with problem tenants?
The primary purpose of tenant screening is to help landlords and property managers accept rental applications for high quality tenants. These are tenants who pay up what they owe on time, don't cause disturbance to other tenants, and take good care of the property.
For that to happen, your tenant screening process needs to be impeccable. In this article, we're fleshing out a few best practices that will help you strengthen your screening process.
1. Set Your Screening Criteria
When you have a vacant rental, do you just take in the first person who shows interest? If yes, maybe you do it because all the tenants who have come your way have been good tenants.
However, you've been riding on luck. Without any screening criteria, it's only a matter of time before you find a tenant who will give you endless headaches.
Setting screening criteria is a good place to start. If you have multiple units, though, the criteria should be customized for each unit.
For example, let's say you have two units in different locations: Both go for $1,500 monthly, but the cost of living is vastly different in both locations.
While both tenants can be subjected to a financial background check, you might not get the best results if you're using the same rent-to-income ratio. Both renters might be earning $5,000 a month and can afford to pay their rent, but the one living in a location where the cost of living is much higher is stretching their paycheck.
2. List Your Criteria on Rental Property Ads
In some ways, looking for a tenant for your property is like an employer looking for an employer. An employer needs to list the qualifications they're looking for in a candidate. Landlords should also list the requirements prospective tenants need to meet.
Listing things like rent-to-income ratio, credit score, and employment status helps ensure an ad only attracts the right pool of prospective tenants. From there, you'll use things like criminal background checks to zero in on the best tenant.
3. Trust But Verify
A credit report will give tell you about a rental applicant's financial background, but it doesn't give the complete picture. Accepting an application from a tenant with a 700 credit score doesn't necessarily mean they'll be able to afford the rent if they are currently jobless.
As such, make it a practice to verify some of the information applicants give you. If someone says they're employed at company A and are earning a certain amount of money, ask for documents -like paychecks and employment contracts - to confirm what they're saying,
Do Tenant Screening the Right Way
The quality of tenants you get is only as good as the quality of your tenant screening process. Although there are standard tenant background checks a landlord needs to perform, it takes a lot more to find the best tenants every time.
But, you don't have to worry about this. You can take the guesswork out of your tenant screening by hiring PMI Patron, an experienced property management company that serves North Orange County.