By Ilan Joseph, Broker, ABR®, e-PRO®, AMP® | © All rights reserved
Although most tenants pay on time and are respectful of the property they live in, from time to time you may find yourself with a tenant from hell. By doing the right background checks prior to accepting them as a tenant, you avoid bad tenants and find more qualified ones. Here are some of my tips:
- Wherever you post your ad for lease, make sure to state that you do background and credit checks on all applicants. This will instantly deter any unqualified tenants from ever even applying and what you will get is higher-grade applicants.
- Have the tenant provide a credit check if they had one recently done, otherwise pull a credit report on them from Equixfax or Transunion. The cost is about $20 and worth every dollar. Reviewing their credit will give you a glimpse into how financially responsible they are. If they aren’t paying credit cards or other loans, chances are they won’t be paying your rent either.
- Ensure all tenants fill out a proper rental application. Here’s one you can use. Make sure to call all the applicants references, especially all the landlords they have listed. Try to ask a series of questions to ensure the reference is telling the truth; some landlords will lie to you in hopes of getting rid of a nasty tenant.
- Google the perspective tenants name and look them up on social media channels. You wouldn’t believe how much information you can gather on someone via Facebook and Twitter. I’ve rejected Tenants based on pictures or posts I’ve seen on their social media channels. Anyone whos profile is exclusively filled with photos of them drunk is probably someone you don’t want as a tenant.
- Interview them, in person, at their current residence. Not only will you get to see first hand how they live, you can also look for signs of them being untruthful. When you are interviewing them, if they are not looking at you while speaking, diverting your questions or otherwise giving incomplete answers, they are probably hiding something from you.
- Think of your tenants are customers of your business. It’s your job to keep your customers happy. Happy tenants will stay in your place longer and will want to take ensure they are in good standing with you. Why not give them a quarterly gift card for paying their rent on time? Perhaps a little holiday basket in December?