Tenant screening is a critical part of being a successful landlord. Would you give a complete stranger the keys to your car for a month? No, you wouldn’t. So don’t give tenants you don’t know the keys to your investment, which has a lot more value than a car. You must check out your tenants, and today we’re talking about what you need to do in order to find that perfect tenant who pays rent on time and takes care of your home.
Property Management Cleveland and the Lake Erie Landlord’s Association
One of the best ways for screening tenants is to run reports through the Lake Erie Landlord’s Association. If you become a member, you can run all your eviction checks, credit reports, and rental histories. It can be done online to check out your tenants and complete your screening process.
What to Look for When Screening Tenants
There are several important things to look for during the tenant screening process. Start with eviction checks. Would you want to rent to a tenant who has been evicted multiple times, or even just once? You may be the next landlord to evict them. Credit scores are important too because they show you how well a tenant pays bills. Perhaps they don’t pay their bills but they do pay rent reliably. Property management companies can now report rental payments to the credit bureaus. At Sandstone Realty, we do report to the credit bureau. So we can help tenants build their credit or demonstrate that they don’t pay on time. Today, a credit report is an important tool in the screening process. Look for landlord collections as well. If other landlords have collection activity against this tenant, you may not want to be the next landlord to get in line. If you see a collection from the last landlord for $2,000, you’ll want to think carefully about renting to that tenant.
Criminal records also need to be checked out. If there are felonies on there, would you want that person living in your home? Take a look at employment history as well. Find out how long the tenant has worked in his or her job and whether enough money is earned to cover the rent. Call the place of employment for a reference.
Asking for Larger Deposits from Imperfect Tenants
Just because there are blemishes on the screening reports you collect doesn’t mean you can’t rent to that particular tenant. We will ask tenants to pay a double deposit if they have a low credit score or they were evicted one time five years ago. When you collect more money, you take some of the risk away. Most tenants can come up with a double deposit, especially around tax time, and that will help you fill your units.
If you need help conducting a tenant background check, or you have any questions about Cleveland property management, please contact us at Sandstone Realty.