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If you're a landlord, you can make your living off of rental fees alone. However, many landlords fail to tap into their potential because they make common tenant screening mistakes. Before you start inviting tenants into your property, you need to get familiar with these mistakes.
What should your tenant screening process be like? How can you see if your tenants have money and respect for their landlords? How can you respect your tenant's rights?
Answer these questions and you can master how tenant screening works in no time. Here are six common tenant screening mistakes.
1. Not Having a Tenant Screening Process at All
Having a bad tenant screening process is better than having no process whatsoever. At a minimum, you should have a rental application and ask your tenants to send you their credit history. You should also conduct brief phone interviews with each applicant.
If a tenant screening process would be too much work, you can hire a tenant screening service. Ask someone for tenant screening tips that can help you create a good process. You can also use tenant screening software to streamline the process.
2. Being Inconsistent
Whatever screening process you have, you should adopt consistent methods. Asking one set of tenant interview questions to one person and asking another set to a different person can make it hard to compare the applicants together. If you have a gut feeling about someone, you should look for evidence so you don't make mistakes.
3. Skipping a Credit Check
Credit checks let you determine if your tenants can pay for rent on a regular basis. You should ask for your tenant's credit history in your application, and you can get supplementary documents like bank statements.
Do not accept credit reports that are outdated or seem inaccurate. Ask your tenant for the most recent information and do not allow them to move in if they refuse to give you documents.
4. Skipping a Background Check
Background checks for tenants let you see if your tenants have criminal histories. It's okay to allow someone to move in if they have committed minor offenses. But you should not allow someone to move in if they have a history of violence or committing crimes in their rental properties.
5. Violating Your Tenant's Rights
Though you can ask for background checks, you cannot ask about whether your tenant has a protection order. You cannot ask personal questions about their lives like whether they have experienced violence. Talk to a lawyer about tenant rights in North Carolina and steer clear of any intimate subjects.
6. Missing References
You should ask for at least one reference from each of your tenants. The reference can be a previous landlord or an employer. But the reference should speak to your tenant's character and give you an impression of who they are.
Avoiding Common Tenant Screening Mistakes
To be the best landlord you can be, you must avoid common tenant screening mistakes. You should work with a tenant screening service and develop a screening process for yourself. The process should be consistent for all tenants.
It must include credit checks, background checks, and interviews. However, you must not discriminate against your tenants or ask them invasive questions. To get further details about them, you can run reference checks.
If screening your tenants is difficult, get help from property professionals. Wilkinson Property Management serves Charlotte, North Carolina landlords. Contact us today.