There's a reason why landlords put so much effort into finding the right tenant for their property. Not only do they want someone who will pay their rent on time, but they want that person to take care of their property and be respectful, too.
There are lots of uncertainties floating around when it comes to screening for tenants, such as which factors truly matter when it's time to select a tenant.
Here's a look at the top four tenant screening myths and what is true when it comes to screening potential tenants.
1. A High Credit Score Means a Perfect Tenant
Credit scores have been a main factor in tenant screenings for many years. While a high credit score - say, 650 or higher - could indicate that a potential tenant pays their bills on time and is financially responsible, it's not a complete picture.
A high credit score is a good sign, but make sure you consider other factors as well. If a potential tenant applies and doesn't have a perfect credit score, find out more information before ruling them out. Some applicants may be too young to have established great credit yet, but they may still be responsible and respectful.
2. Screening Tenants Hurts Their Credit Scores
"But will this ding my credit score?"
This phrase is heard by many landlords when they tell potential tenants that they need to do a background check. But contrary to what many people think, screening tenants doesn't have to hurt their credit scores.
While some screenings could lead to hard inquiries, many services offer soft inquiries for tenant screenings instead. With a soft credit check, an applicant's credit score won't be affected at all.
3. Choosing Any Tenant Is Better Than No Tenant
Many landlords panic at the thought of leaving their rental unit vacant, and they rush to fill it with any tenant possible. But is it really better to choose a less-than-ideal tenant than to wait for the right one?
It turns out that picking a random tenant could lead to significant financial losses. If the situation doesn't work out and the landlord has to evict the tenant, pay for their property damages, deal with court costs, or go through any other sort of mess, they've potentially lost much more money than if they had waited for a properly screened tenant.
4. A Tenant's Ability to Pay Rent Is All That Matters
A tenant's ability to pay rent is important - after all, if they can't pay on time, it affects the landlord's finances as well.
However, the decision shouldn't be based on this factor. An applicant should be able to pay the rent, but other qualities should be assessed too like whether they have good recommendations, seem responsible, and have a strong credit history.
If a landlord wants the person living in their unit to respect their home as much as they do, they're going to need to dig a little deeper and get a more holistic view of each tenant.
Tenant Screening Advice to Find the Right Fit
With these tenant screening tips, you're on your way to finding the right landlord-tenant relationship that benefits both parties.
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