Through years of experience in the field, we’ve narrowed our tenant screening process down to a specific set of steps that allow us to work quickly to fill the apartments and houses we manage with the best possible tenants. This is an overview of our process. Hopefully it can help you in screening your tenants.
- Create a checklist. We’ve learned that working from checklists ensures consistency and accuracy in everything we do. While some feel that checklists are tedious, it will actually save you time and frustration. You won’t need to worry about forgetting anything. Additionally, following a checklist will provide the consistency needed to help keep you out of Fair Housing Hell. We use property management software that allows for the creation and monitoring of checklists, but you can also just use a notebook and pen.
- We send a welcome email and phone call after an application is submitted. The welcome email will include additional information we’ll need to run their application, and the phone call is to ensure they received the email. The additional information requested includes employer and landlord waivers that need signed and returned, so we can contact them.
- Run background checks. This includes a credit, eviction, and criminal background checks. We check a nationwide database, but also manually check with the local courts. Again, we’ve learned over the years that national background check databases are limited in how accurate they can be, so it is essential to Manually Check Eviction and Criminal
- Get other verification in order. In addition to background checks, we conduct a landlord verification to try to find out if they consistently pay their rent on time and if they caused damage to their previous residence. Read Problems with Landlord Verification in Screening and the Solution to learn more about landlord verification.
- Collect information. We request copies of the previous 30-days’ worth of pay stubs, a copy of a photo ID for each adult that will be living on the property, and a photo of any pets they have. Photos and IDs are important, so you know exactly who and what animals will be living there.
- Create a summary. Once all the verification and background checks are complete, compose a summary of the results. Within the summary, we include the final decision on whether or not the lease will be offered to them. This is important because if they insist on knowing why they were not offered the lease, the reason needs to be clear to keep you out of Fair Housing Hell.
- Notify tenant and collect hold fee. If the applicant is being offered the lease, they are notified immediately and asked to pay a hold fee. The hold fee, unlike a deposit, is non-refundable. If they go through with renting the property, the hold fee is applied to their deposit.
Hopefully, this was helpful. If you have any questions about our process, feel free to ask. If you are interesting in having us handle your leasing process or learning more about the services we offer, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Our experienced investment property management team can relieve you of the burden of managing your rental property while saving you some serious money! Call us today at (440) 220-7300 to see how we can help you!