Landlords often struggle with an effective tenant screening process. It can be time-consuming, tedious, and complicated to do the necessary background research on potential tenants for a rental unit. Many people don't have enough time in their schedule or know about all the steps to thoroughly screen for the perfect tenant that is likely to pay rent on time and take care of the rental property before signing a lease agreement.
If you self-manage your rental properties but feel like you need some help placing good tenants, it might be worth outsourcing your tenant screening process! Check out these insights from our Jacksonville, FL property management team.
What Does It Take To Screen a Tenant?
While a property owner can skip some tenant screening steps (and risk placing bad renters), the most thorough tenant screenings will have several crucial elements. The following elements are must-haves when it comes to a thorough screening process.
Obtaining a potential resident's credit report will tell a property owner a lot about whether they can afford the property or not. In addition, a credit report shows a potential tenant's credit card debt, whether they pay their bills late or if they have ever had an unpaid bill sent to a collection agency.
This is essential in determining if a renter will have issues making rent payments during a lease term. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, it is legal for a landlord to obtain a prospective tenant's credit report, but you must have their permission first.
Checking for prior eviction history can clarify whether the tenant has ever had trouble paying their rent or has legal problems with previous landlords. Eviction records are generally kept for seven years, and more than one eviction should serve as a red flag to avoid them as a potential renter.
A tenant screening firm will perform national searches for eviction records on an applicant, but property owners can also search for a past eviction record in a state's civil court records.
Last but not least, a background check will reveal any evidence of criminal history, whether it pertains to a housing problem or not. Property owners must be careful not to rule out all potential renters because of an arrest or criminal record. However, having a felony conviction is a red flag that should be considered since it might show that the safety of the neighborhood and the rental home are in danger.
In addition to the items listed above, it's a good idea to consider checking references. These can include:
- Their previous landlords. Inquire with the landlord about whether the renter was noisy, disruptive, paid the rent late, or was harmful in some way.
- Former or current employers. Employees with good work ethics are more likely to have excellent payment habits. In addition, confirming proof of employment and income helps support the placement of a resident with excellent potential.
- Personal references. References that aren't business or housing-related can also be good resources to learn more about a tenant. However, watch out for personal references that say too many good things about the applicant or say the same things.
It's also smart to talk with the applicant and conduct an interview. When you meet a possible renter in person, you may ask them to clarify anything that appears negative in the initial screening and get to know them better.
Are There Benefits to Outsourcing?
What are the benefits of outsourcing your tenant screening process? A Jacksonville, FL. property management company can deliver a legal (and quick) screening process that removes the work from your plate while placing excellent residents. Plus, outsourcing this process also has other benefits.
Running credit and background checks aren't cheap, but hiring a property manager to do them can save you money. Many professional property managers have bulk discounts and specific memberships to save money on tenant screening.
No Personal Attachments
When selecting the perfect renter for your rental properties, it can become challenging to deny a renter. Forming a personal bond with a renter could cloud a property owner's judgment and cause them to be careless about placing a renter or enforcing the rules.
Not Missing Subtle Red Flags
If you're not an experienced landlord, some red flags could slip in under the radar. However, a Palm Springs property management company knows the things to look for to avoid dealing with difficult tenants and professional renters.
Find Better Tenants With the Best Palm Springs Property Management Company
When it comes to screening tenants, the decision of whether or not you should outsource your tenant screening process is a tough one. However, if you're looking for convenience and peace of mind, an experienced property management company may be the way to go.
Spectrum Realty Services has a thorough tenant screening process in place, and our team is ready to assist Jacksonville, Florida, real estate investors in finding the best renters! Reach out soon, and let's talk about our property management services.