Screening tenants is one of the most crucial parts of managing a rental property. If you choose the wrong tenants, it can create extensive business losses and take several years to recover. A landlord and a property manager will never allow a precarious tenant.
Dwelling with a bad tenant can be costly and stressful, and think of selling your property. However, with thoroughness and awareness of the signs, they will avoid those kinds of tenants and make the rental business successful.
An ideal tenant is hard to find, particularly if you don’t know what red flags are to watch out for during the screening process. And through this article, you will be knowledgeable about the red flags during the screening tenants process.
Importance of Screening Tenants
Tenant screening protects the rental property, landlord, and the community. As a landlord, you will not allow a stranger to sign the lease and reside on your property for an extended period. And you don’t want your tenant to bring in such problems, like late rent payments, property damages, or illegal activities.
And to avoid all these kinds of problems and awful experiences, you must have a thorough screening process before signing anyone the lease. It’s essential to review an application, credit history, tenant rental history report, evictions, and financial and income statements.
Red Flags to Look Out for During Screening Tenants
It’s a little invasive if you look into someone’s credit score and history, but it’s a necessary aspect of conducting tenant screening. As a future landlord, it would help if you should be aware of how much the debt they have and if they can pay it on time.
This information is essential to see if they have so much debt and cannot afford to pay the rent. And also if they can make a payment on the rent on time.
Ideally, a minimum credit score should be 600. And a bad credit score is a stumbling block and an indication that it can create a problem in the future. However, you can also ask them to prove that they always pay their rent on time in their previous rental property.
History of Evictions
A previous eviction is a clear red flag. Most of the time, eviction is a tenant’s indiscretion for reasons that they’re not paying the rent, committed a crime, or executed something wrong to face eviction. It would be best to have due attentiveness to ensure that you have a fair judgment and not just make assumptions.
Certain situations are not avoidable including, job loss, dealing with a family medical emergency, or a former landlord being biased against them. It’s challenging to decide and tell what happens. But you must go with your gut feel and be cautious with anyone with an eviction history. If there are multiple evictions, it’s a major red flag, and as much as possible, you must avoid going further with them.
Any criminal record is a major red flag. As humans, we all tend to make mistakes. And there might be a possibility that you may want to help others get back on the right track. However, most applicants don’t have any criminal records, so why choose someone who does.
But you must always consider the Fair Housing Act and not discriminate against anyone who has a criminal record but somewhat you must examine it on a case-to-case basis. You must also consider the safety of other tenants, and if it’s awful, you can refuse tenancy. However, if it will not cause harm to other tenants, you can go and approve the application.
If the applicant were convicted for serious crimes involving violence and property destruction, you might not want to pursue the application. And always bear in mind that it’s not a good sign. And try to weigh the situation and think multiple times before finalizing the decision.
Inconsistent Employment History
It’s a major red flag if the potential tenant has a spotty employment history. This inconsistency can mean that this person finds it difficult to hold on to a job and frequently let go of the job.
It can be a significant concern for you as a landlord because it is likely that the tenant could lose the job during the tenancy in your property. And it will result in late or nonpayment of rent.
You can also consider applicants that are employed with benefits such as paid vacations, sick leave, health insurance, and paid holidays. Or else you may encounter late payment because of holiday seasons or other reasons.
You must also look for at least 12 months employment period in the same career or job. Because if you are hooked with a tenant that often changes jobs, there’s a possibility that they may not pay the rent when they switch between jobs.
If the potential tenant doesn’t fill up the rental application completely, it’s a sign of false identity, terrible history, or it’s just a lack of interest. Some may just forget a section or don’t want to supply the information that will make them have a negative standing.
Moreover, if a potential tenant leaves out specific information on the rental application. It’s a sign that they’re hiding something. It will help if you are concerned about details like previous rental history, social security number, and income.
No Proof of Income
Asking for proof of income is necessary for screening tenants. You should know the income of your potential tenant every month so that you can gauge if they can make a payment on the rent every month.
You should require them to present proof like a bank statement, bank balance, or payslips.
Want to Move in Too Quickly
If a tenant wants to move in as soon as possible, it’s also a red flag. Having a tenant on your vacant unit might seem positive, but it will also have negative implications. Most tenants expect that the rental unit may not be readily available for occupancy. There are a lot of processes and things to accomplish before a tenant can move in. You must approve the application first, clean the unit, and do some repairs or renovations. It’s suspicious if the potential tenant applies online and wants to move in immediately without seeing the rental property desperately.
There are several reasons why potential tenants want to move in quickly. Starting a new job broke up with a partner, and those are all reasonable situations. However, if there are no valid reasons or explanations. You must consider that they are not on good terms with their current landlord or getting denied many times. There’s no problem if you will trust them, but you must know and understand the reason why they need to move in quickly.
Ask to Pay Late
It would help if you watched out for the potential tenant who wants to pay late. There are valid reasons, but you just need to weigh the situation. Not all people are truthful, and there are times that people with good intentions are not good with finances. So, you must receive the rent payment on time to avoid further issues.
Lack of References
Every landlord should ask the potential tenant to provide references of previous landlords and employers when filling out the rental application. It will allow you to ask and question someone that has experienced renting or working with your potential tenant.
You can validate and collect information regarding your potential tenant, like what they are as tenants or at their job. But, if the potential tenant doesn’t want to give references, it may mean something, or they’re hiding something.
However, you must still be cautious since some people will give out references that are not accurate. Some can favor a friend to pretend as a landlord and saying positive things to them. The game-changer would be to ask for crucial information like the return of the deposit. And not getting the deposit is a major red flag.
Show Up Late
It’s crucial that during the rental showing or tenant screening interview that the potential tenant adheres on time as a sign of respect. If they are late, they must have a notice that they may arrive late and will give updates on their whereabouts. If they have respected your time, they will most likely respect your rental property.
Don’t Follow Instructions
If the potential tenant can’t follow the instructions that you gave them from filling out to submitting of application, you might think twice before deciding to rent to them. If they do not follow instructions and submit documents, they are likely to follow instructions and rules to care for your rental property or even pay.
The most effective way to detect the red flags during screening tenants is to let professionals and experts capture them. Hiring a property management company like ProRealty Property Management can improve your tenant screening. ProRealty will ensure that you have the ideal tenant to rent in your rental property.