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Property Management | Landlord Education Blog

How We Screen Your Rental Applicants

How We Screen Your Rental Applicants

Are you a property owner concerned about how to select the right renter? You're not alone. Today, an estimated 44 million households are renters. With more people renting, it's crucial that you have a process in place to choose the best applicants.

Rental applications help you decide on the tenant requirements before beginning the tenant screening process. Screening applicants include credit and background checks on potential tenants.

Although it might seem like a lot of work, using the right screening tools help landlords protect their investments. It can also boost their profitability.

Keep reading to learn more about how to screen your rental applications.

The Right Rental Applications

Paper applications are still in use today. However, you can make life easier by investing in tenant screening software.

You'll first want to create a rental application form to screen potential tenants. Include the rules and expectations for all your tenants. Let applicants know up front what the screening process will include that could potentially exclude them from renting.

You'll also want to decide if pets, smoking, or other things will be a deciding factor. It's important to set these guidelines ahead of time if they will stop someone from moving to the next phase.

Steps in Screening Applicants

Once you have the rental application ready, there are several steps to choosing the right rental applicant. Each step is essential to choosing the right tenants.

  1. Prescreen tenants
  2. Credit and background checks
  3. Verify income
  4. Verify rental history
  5. Applicant interview
  6. Final decision

Screening applicants is one of the most important aspects of renting properties. Choosing the wrong tenant can become a costly endeavor in both time and money. If you don't believe you're up to the task, consider contracting with a property management service.

Full Disclosure

With such a tight rental market, you don't want to waste time going through rental applications that don't go anywhere. When you market your rental property, disclose to potential applicants your minimal requirements.

Include your application fee, security deposit, and lease terms up front. Eliminating applicants who won't meet your requirements will save both you and the tenant time.

Set Acceptance/Denial Criteria

Potential applicants have rights. When screening applicants, you must follow fair housing laws to avoid accusations of discrimination. By setting criteria for denying rental applications, you avoid the misconception of denying applications due to bias.

Let's look at some criteria examples you could consider.

  • Minimum income threshold
  • Work history
    • Minimum years on current job
    • Covering the past 10 years
  • Verified income
    • Pay stubs
    • Tax returns
  • Minimum credit score
  • Criminal background
    • No felonies
    • Accept misdemeanors
  • Rental references

Set thresholds that every applicant must reach to move to the next step. Don't make concessions or move the bar based on whether you like or dislike someone.

Help is Available

Rental screenings can become stressful. It is a leading reason why many rented property owners hire lease management companies to handle rental applications.

Don't get bogged down in the process. Our property management services can get you the right tenants. Contact us today for more information.