When screening potential tenants, landlords may have trouble determining what factors to consider the most closely. In the interest of renting out vacant units, it can be tempting to ignore certain red flags. However, there are some warning signs that should not be overlooked to help ensure ideal tenant selection.
The following are six rental application and tenant screening red flags landlords should never ignore when screening potential tenants:
1. Past Evictions
The worst-case outcome of a relationship with a tenant is the need to evict them, whether it’s due to nonpayment of rent, damage to the unit or conflicts with neighbors or other tenants. A check of the applicant’s eviction record allows landlords to see if the applicant has a history of this type of issue. A professional tenant screening service can assist with screening potential tenants and other key background checks.
2. Screening Potential Tenants With A Criminal Past
A history of criminal activity is another red flag that shouldn’t be ignored, especially if it relates to finances, property damage or violent behavior. Past behavior is often a strong indicator of future behavior, especially if the crime was committed in the recent past. A professional tenant screening and background check service can assist with determining specifics from each applicant’s past so that sound decisions can be made which should also help to reduce landlord stress.
3. Doubts About Employment Or Income
Ideally, the cost of the rent should equal no more than one-third of the household income of each applicant. Jobs and income amounts listed on a rental application should be verified with the employer. This will help to remove doubts about an applicant’s employment history as well as the income amount they claim to make. If these areas cannot be verified when screening potential tenants, the applicant is likely not a good choice.
4. Poor Credit
Credit history is another indicator of viability as a tenant. In addition to reflecting their financial history and probable future, a credit record check can tell you their overall credit score. Generally, landlords should look for a score of at least 620 to consider a tenant a possible prospect. However, the higher the better. A credit score of over 760 is considered excellent.
5. Gaps On Their Application Forms
If an applicant leaves blanks on their application forms or has gaps in their employment or rental history that they won’t explain, this is another red flag. References that don’t add up or verify their application information are also problematic.
6. In a Rush to Move In
If a tenant is in a big hurry to move in, this could be another red flag. Needing a place to move into within a week or less could be a sign that the applicant’s life is in disarray, and this could indicate that they may not be the perfect tenant. Take extra time to scrutinize the applications of such individuals when screening potential tenants and considering them for tenancy.
Being a landlord means running a business, and the best landlords select tenants who are most likely to be responsible both with the property and with payment terms. This means paying attention to key warning signs. Professional tenant screening can help with screening potential tenants and spotting the signs of a problem tenant so that the best tenants are selected.