A Simple Guide to Tenant Screening


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Are you looking for a better way to find good tenants? Just as there are no perfect landlords, there also are no perfect tenants - but there are good ones out there!

You need your space rented just as they need to rent the space, the situation needs to be good for both parties. Tenant screening is the only way to assure that your tenants are the right fit for your space. 

We have come up with some of the best ways to screen your tenants. 

Listing as Tenant Screening

When you are creating your listing, be as detailed as possible. Your rental listing should have a clear price, location, description, amenities, and general policies. Add pet policies right to your listing to deter any miscommunication. Have your security deposit listed as well as any additional fees the tenants may be responsible for.

On your listing add professional and relevant pictures to attract quality tenants. Consider hiring a property management company to help you with the process. The better managed and better marketing you have, the more quality tenants will be attracted to your listings. 

Pre-Screening Questions

Before you even talk to any potential tenants you can send a pre-screening questionnaire. Ask the potential tenants when they would like to move in and if they have any pets. Ask the number of occupants that will be living at the residence to make sure the space is appropriate for the renters. 

Make sure that their monthly income is at least 3 times the amount of rent. This will help them financially, as they won't be over-extending their budget.

Knowing why they are looking for a place to rent is also a very good pre-screening question. Are they just looking to move to a new area, or was their decision based on a bad renting experience?

You can also ask them to list references. If they don't have any renting references, they can list references from their job. Be cautious of renters listing their friends as fake references, ask specific questions that only actual landlords would be able to answer.

During Viewing

When the property manager meets with the potential renters for a showing, they can conversationally ask questions to further screen the tenants. 

Casually ask about what they do for a living, do they enjoy their job? Not only will you get to know them, but you can get a feel for the stability of their income. 

Ask about any amenities they are looking for to see if there is another listing you might have that will fit these potential tenants better. Maybe they could use an additional bedroom and you have a place opening up soon that would work better for them, etc. 

You want to be able to trust your tenants, after all - they will be living in your building! And your tenants should be able to trust you, so being able to have organic conversations and getting good vibes from potential tenants is important!

Internet Check

Doing credit and background checks is typical and will be expected from anyone who has rented before. To screen more in-depth, put your FBI hat on and search the web!

Using the website LinkedIn to look up potential tenants is a great way to make sure what they tell you is lining up! You can use Facebook and Instagram, but those apps and websites are more personal information that may not be relevant to their renting situation. 

We Can Help

You have the right to deny their application based on their credit report, references, or income. If you do deny, you do not have to list a reason, but you should deny them in writing. A simple script stating that the property has been rented to another individual will suffice. 

If you are in the San Diego area, contact us and we can take over as your Property Management Company. We will take the hassle out of tenant screening, lease agreements, advertising, and more!