Being able to secure a high-quality tenant is crucial in helping you see a return on your Missouri investment property. A high-quality tenant will take care of your property, pay their rent on time, get along with their neighbors and, ideally, want to renew their long-term lease .
This is why tenant screening is one of the most important steps in your rental process. By conducting detailed tenant screenings, you are more likely to find quality and responsible tenants for your property.
In this article, we have listed our most helpful tips to help you achieve a successful tenant screening process for your rental property.
Guide on Effective Tenant Screening
Identify Your Ideal Tenant.
The first step in tenant screening is determining what qualities you’re looking for in your future resident. Next, you will need to filter out tenants who do not meet these requirements. While these qualities may vary from one property owner to another, there are some that are cut across the board.
Some examples of common qualities of a good tenant are:
- Responsible and able to make timely payments. This can be indicated by the amount of income a prospective tenant makes or a credit check. A letter from the previous landlord could also help determine if the tenant is responsible.
- Stable job with period income. A stable job is important since it gives you the assurance that the tenant is capable of making rent on time and will avoid evictions.
An important thing to note is the adherence to the provisions of the Fair Housing Laws. This Act states that no tenant may be discriminated against for housing due to color, age, disability, familial status, disability, nationality, race, religion and gender. Discrimination under these categories can mean a potential fine.
Market Your Property
The next step is to prepare advertisements for your property. Your advertisement should appeal to your ideal tenant. Make use of phrases and terminologies that will catch their attention. This can be done by mention what amenities your property has.
Your target demographic will also determine the advertising and marketing media that you will use. For example, you can determine if your target audience be more likely to see your advertisement if posted online or through a newspaper.
A few details that you may want include in your rental advert include your contact information, property location, property amenities and utilities, number of units available and pet policy. You may also decide to include the rental amount and security deposit. Providing such information will help zero down to the few tenants interested.
Pre-Screen All Prospective Tenants
Use the criteria you picked and set a number of questions that will help you filter out tenants. Ask all prospective tenants the same set of questions to avoid being discriminative. Some of the questions you can ask your tenants include:
- Where do you currently live, how long have you lived there?
- Why are you moving?
- Have you notified your landlord on your intention to move?
- Do you have pets?
- When would you like to move to your new house?
- Will you have any roommates?
- What is your rental budget?
Fill Out the Rental Application Form
Have a rental application form where all your prospective tenants fill out the details required. This will help you to further determine the best tenant. The rental application form will also help you collect necessary information for your tenants. If they do not qualify the first time round, you can always reach out to them once there is a vacant unit.
The rental application form is an official document that collects various details such as:
- Personal information. This section can include details such as name of the tenant, address, contact information and age.
- Number of occupants’
- Average amount of income and occupation
- Contact information for past landlord
The above are just an example of the type of information that should be requested on the application form. You are in liberty to customize the application form to your own liking as long as you stick to the Fair Housing Act.
The Federal Credit Reporting Act states that a prospective tenant must give written consent for a credit and background check to be confirmed. Be sure to have the prospective tenant provide a signature agreeing to these conditions if you intend to perform one.
Missouri landlords may also charge an application fee, and are not limited on how much these fees can cost. The tenant will also have to provide a signature consenting to be charged the amount you determine.
Verify The Information Provided
Once you have received the application forms from prospective tenants, it is now time to verify whether the information provided is correct. You can reach out to the contacts provided such as the landlords and employers. Use a legal practitioner to confirm that a person has no criminal records or other legal charges that could affects their viability.
Accept or Reject the Tenants
This is the final step. You have done all the preliminary steps and by now, you already have a number of tenants who have passed the screening. It is now time to inform the tenants who are legible to your tenants. Be courteous enough to also inform those who are not.
We have seen how pre-planning what tenants you’re looking for, properly advertising and verifying each tenant can help you find the best tenants. By doing a thorough screening process, you now have a high chance of signing responsible, long-term tenants who can help you achieve your rental investment.
Following each of these steps can be time consuming and demand a lot of detail. Consider reaching out to Pro X Property Management, a qualified team of property managers with a decade of experience. Pro X Property Management can complete the entire screening process for you and help you find a high-quality tenant for your Missouri rental. This can leave you with more free time and the assurance your rental property is in good hands.