Grab Our Free Tenant Screening Checklist
This is part 1 of our Landlord’s guide to Tenant Screening.
Tenant screening is a meaty subject. It’s not something where you can learn all the complexities from a one-page document.
However… it’s handy to have that one-pager to gain the bird’s eye view of where we’re headed.
In this chapter of our tenant screening tutorial, we will highlight aspects of this checklist.
The bulleted items below are a clickable list that serves as a table of contents for this tenant screening checklist.
Tenant Screening Checklist Items:
- Creating tenant screening criteria
- Advertise Your Rental
- Pre-screen interested renters over the phone
- Show your rental
- Collect rental applications
- Run a background check
- Verify applicant details
- Select your tenant
- Issue adverse action action
- Onboard your new tenant
We cover each of these items thoroughly in their respective chapters, but we will touch upon each subject briefly below.
You can click any item in the list above to be taken down the page to that topic.
1. Creating a tenant screening criteria
We’re going to shoot straight with you on this one. Establishing a tenant screening criteria is not a fun step.
It can feel like an additional step that hems a landlord’s decision making.
That’s something you have to get over…
… because creating your criteria kills two birds with one stone.
You’re going to create an answer key to judge tenant applicants with ease. This will make it easier and faster to assess a tenant applicant.
You’ll also have something to point to in the unfortunate situation of a discrimination claim.
You’ll be able to point to the specific reason they were denied, and you won’t end up in court fighting a scary legal battle.
2. Advertise Your Rental
Did you know that someone who marries at 25 is over 50 percent less likely to get divorced than someone who weds at age 20? (this according to the Institute of Family Studies)
This is in large part because at 25, the rational areas of the brain are more developed compared to a brain of a 20-year-old. Source
What does this have to do with advertising your rental?
Imagine you’re at a wedding and the bride and groom are both 19 years old. You might be thinking they should slow it down, maybe see if there are other fish in the sea.
The same is true when it comes to finding a tenant for your rental. If you don’t properly advertise than you’re going to end up with very few applicants.
If you’re choosing from a pool of at least 10 qualified applicants than you’re increasing your chances of finding the right tenant (happy face on the graph).
The more places you advertise, the more opportunity you create for the cream to rise to the top.
Take the time to read and learn how to advertise your rental the right way. It will save you from walking the aisle too soon.
3. Pre-screen Interested Renters
Pre-screening renters are one of those “one step back, two steps forward” scenarios.
It’s a time-saving hack that Kevin would appreciate…
You don’t want to waste your time showing your rental to every person who expresses interest.
In the pre-screening phase, you’ll weed out the tire kickers and renters who don’t meet your minimum criteria.
It means far fewer trips to your rental and less hassle in the long-run.
4. Show Your Rental
When you’re showing the rental, there are few directions you can go. You can decide to do an open house, a block of appointments or individual showings.
We’ll go over how to safely show the rental, how to spot signs of a troublesome renter and how to decrease no-shows.
We also have some great Facebook threads that cover tips on showing your rental. You can get access to those private posts by entering your email below.
5. Collect rental applications
This one isn’t sexy but is very important you take this step.
We will provide you with a compliant rental application that will gather all the necessary details to screen your tenants.
We will also go over some of the data you’ll want to hang onto in the event you have issues down the line. You don’t want to miss these tips.
6. Run a background check
A large percentage of our clients come to RentPrep because they’ve just been burned badly by a renter.
Professional tenants understand the game and how to play it.
Running a background check is your opportunity to discover the superhero renter in the crowd of applicants.
It’s kind of like a police lineup except you’re trying to find the excellent renter.
In this chapter you’re going to learn about what data is involved with a background check.
We will cover in detail precisely what you need to know and consider when reading a rental background check.
7. Verify applicant details
You don’t want to just rely on the background check for grading a tenant.
You’ll also want to verify details such as the current and previous landlord and especially their employment.
We have made over 60,000 verification calls at RentPrep. We’ll show you exactly what you need to ask and how to make these calls.
8. Select your tenant
This one is the fun (and slightly scary) part of the process. You’ve done your due diligence and you believe you have a great tenant lined up for your property.
Now it’s time to get your new tenant setup right after you take care of one last item…
9. Issue adverse action
You want to make sure you properly deny the applicants you did not choose.
You deny an applicant by issuing adverse action. This is a formal way of denying the applicant and is required by law.
10. Onboard your new tenant
This is where it’s easy to let off the gas as a landlord.
You feel as if all the work is done and now you can hand over the keys.
This wedding cake is a pretty good analogy for what it feels like to get 99% of the way there…
You don’t want to trip up on the last few steps of placing a tenant.
It’s a process in itself to properly place and onboard a new tenant.
We’ll show you exactly what you need to do.