The best way to help guarantee success in a property rental business is by renting to the highest-quality, most trustworthy tenants possible. However, being a landlord takes on a much more personal tone when a property owner will be renting a room in their own residence. To be a successful landlord and find a quality tenant to help ensure harmony at home, landlords should screen potential renters in the key areas mentioned below:
1. Income Verification
While having a tenant write down information about their income is a start, actually taking a look at copies of their pay stub, W-2 or tax return allows for verification of the applicant’s pay. Their income should generally be three times or more of the monthly rent cost, but this can vary depending upon the economic climate of the area.
2. Agreement with Household Terms when Renting a Room
The homeowner is entitled to set the house rules when renting a room in their home. It is important that the tenant selected can and will abide by the house rules. From kitchen and laundry room policies to lifestyle to smoking/non-smoking, visitor, pet and cleanliness rules, the renter and the homeowner should be on the same page.
3. Their Past as a Renter
The names and contact numbers of the applicant’s last two landlords should be gathered via the rental application. Useful information can be gleaned by calling previous landlords and asking about the applicant’s reliability as tenants in terms of timely rent payments, their treatment of the property and whether they adhered to the property rules.
4. Employment References
The rental application should request the names and phone numbers of the applicant’s current employer as well as their previous one. Talking to past employers can help with verifying reliability and trustworthiness.
5. Personal References
Personal references can offer insights into the character of the individual. Personal references should not be family members; a college professor, clergy or other mentor figures could qualify as personal references.
6. Credit History
Checking into an applicant’s credit history, background and references requires getting their written permission. This can be done via the rental application. Once permission is granted, the landlord can pull their credit report themselves, or allow a tenant screening credit reports service to take care of it as part of a screening package. Late payments and other negative entries on a credit report are major red flags.
7. Criminal History Check
This step is especially crucial when renting a room and living under the same roof with a tenant. While public criminal and national eviction records can yield some information, a professional tenant screening service can ensure a complete and comprehensive criminal history check.
Landlords who are renting a room in their own homes have some special considerations. Screening in these seven areas can help with finding a tenant who will be an ideal fit.