In The World of Real Estate Investing

There are few things more important to the success of your rental property than a qualified renter. Unfortunately, a poorly screened tenant can cost a landlord thousands of dollars in lost rent, damaged property, and eviction costs.

Properly Screening Applicants For Your Rental Property

If you are personally showing the units, then be sure to ask good screening questions. For example, try

  • “Have you rented before?”
  • “Do you have full-time employment?” and
  • “The income requirement is three times the monthly rent. Does that work for you?”

Screening questions such as these are great for weeding out unqualified renters. As a word of caution: stay away from questions that are relating to race, immigration status, or anything that can be perceived as discriminatory. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the Fair Housing Act to avoid those sorts of hiccups.

The Next Property Management Steps

Once an applicant submits a rental application, make sure to collect the applicant’s social security number, valid photo ID, and income verification. At this point, it is wise to run a comprehensive set of background and credit reports. A nationwide background, sex offender search, eviction search, and a full credit report is strongly recommended. At DNS, we run all the reports mentioned above, in addition to reports such as income verification, social security verification, and national terrorist search. While these reports do cost anywhere from $15-$30 for the bundle, the security that comes with a well-vetted tenant is worth that price.Generally, landlords will charge applicants an application fee in order to cover the cost of the associated background and credit reports.

Approval and Rejection For Applicants

After all the reports are run, it’s time to interpret them. I would like to preface this by saying that the advice given below is simply DNS’ best practices and is not meant as legal advice. It’s pretty obvious that an applicant with a violent felony arrest record would be subject to denial of the application. However, drug-related offenses really cannot be used as grounds for an application denial. The same principle applies to individuals that are new to the country and do not yet have a valid social security number. If the applicant is able to produce proof of legal status, then there are not sufficient grounds to deny the applicant. If the applicant has bad credit, several collection accounts, an eviction, or does not meet the income qualification, then the landlord would have the grounds to deny that applicant legally.

Rental Management Approval

If an applicant passes the screening process, then it’s time to approve the application, collect their deposit, and schedule the move in. Congratulations! You have successfully screened your applicant and rented your unit! Unfortunately, a good screening process doesn’t guarantee a good tenant, but it sure increases your odds of avoiding a bad one. Be sure to scan and record all application documentation on the off chance you need to file an eviction or collection action against the tenant.

Contact DNS Property Management For Your Rental Management

A robust resident screening process will greatly improve the chances of finding a qualified renter. Be sure to charge an application fee to cover the cost of the background reports, and always file the application package just in case you need the tenant information sometime in the future. Contact us for a guaranteed screening and rental process for your building and units. After years of experience, we’re prepared to handle whatever your tenants in Broward County, future or current, can throw at you.