Tenant screening forms an essential aspect of property management and ignoring it can cost landlords or property investors a lot. Bad tenants not only frustrate property managers in a time-consuming and expensive eviction process but can also cause large expenses on maintenance of property after eviction. Although landlords would do everything to avoid bad tenants at all costs, it is not automatic that you would land a good tenant. However, you can take adequate measures to avoid bad tenants.
Some prospective tenants would do everything to hide issues that send wrong signals to landlords or property managers. In view of this, property owners must ensure that tenant screening procedures are robust. This can be achieved with the help of a qualified property manager.
Tenant screening refers to the processes a property manager puts in place to minimize the instance of landing a bad tenant. Although the tenant screening process varies among different professionals and jurisdictions, we recommend these helpful tips:
- Verify the Identity of the Prospective Tenant
It is important that you verify the identity of a prospective tenant to eliminate issues of impersonation and to ensure easy tracking of other relevant details of the prospective tenant. This can be achieved by requesting for a copy of a valid identity card from the prospective tenant. This could be a copy of the prospective tenant’s ECOWAS identity card, passport or drivers’ license. Other important details to request for include the current address of the prospective tenant, phone number, date of birth and name.
- Financial Checks
In order to ensure that the prospective tenant has the ability to pay rent in subsequent years, you can verify income of employment of the prospective tenant by requesting for a reference from the employer of the prospective tenant. You can also ask them to provide you with a rough estimate of their income.
- Rental and Residential History
To verify the rental and residential history of the prospective tenant, it is also important that you request for key information pertaining to the prospective tenant’s current address. These include:
- Number of years they have lived in their current address.
- The ownership status of this address.
- Reason for leaving the previous address.
- Interview the Applicant
This can be done informally to request for important information such as the date the prospective tenant anticipates moving into the property, how many people the prospective tenant expects to live with, and other criminal records.
These may include references from employers and previous landlords.
Author: Makafui Kuffo