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Property Management Blog

The Tenant Screening Checklist Every Landlord Should Have

As a landlord, one of your biggest tasks and challenges will be finding tenants for your property. Not only do you want to find tenants, but you also want to find good quality tenants that will make your job as easy as possible. For many reasons, this isn't always easy.

How can you find tenants you can be sure will pay their rent on time, not break their lease, and treat your property with respect? It's impossible to see into the future, but by looking into a tenant's past, you can make a fair prediction.

A tenant screening checklist is a handy thing to have on hand when interviewing any people interested in your property. Read on for everything you should look out for.

1. Current Income and Employer Information

One of the first things you will want to determine is whether your tenant will be able to pay their rent in full and on time. One of the best ways to do this is to seek out information on their current income and employer information. You can speak to their employer to determine whether their income is steady and secure.

2. Rental History and References

A great way of foreseeing how a person might be as a tenant is to see how they have behaved previously in other rental situations. This is why it is a smart idea to always seek information on their rental history—including references from previous landlords. By speaking with their former landlords you can see whether they were generally good tenants or not.

3. Social Security and Driver’s License Numbers

Asking for a copy of documents such as the tenant's social security card and driver's license allows you to verify that the personal information they have provided you with is correct. The last thing you want is to grant someone tenancy on the basis of a stolen identity. You are completely within your rights as a landlord to ask for this information.

4. Criminal or Bankruptcy History

Finally, it can be a good idea to ask for information about a potential tenant's criminal history or any previous bankruptcies they have filed for. This can help to reveal red flags early on. If you want to run a full credit check on a tenant, you will need to get their permission first.

5. Reasons for Leaving Last Property

One thing that landlords do not always think to ask is a tenant's reason for leaving their previous property. If they left in a hurry, or on bad terms, then this could also be a potential red flag. You can verify the reasons they give from their former landlord so you ensure you're getting the full story.

A Comprehensive Tenant Screening Checklist

Choosing quality tenants isn't always easy. Having a tenant screening checklist is one way of helping to ensure you do so. Of course, there are never any guarantees.

If you're in the Salt Lake City area, and you'd like some assistance in the area of tenant screening and selection or property management in general, Wolfnest can help. Get in touch today to find out how we can help take the legwork out of being a landlord.

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