Properly screening a tenant is an essential part of the leasing process in terms of Ashburn property management. The type of tenant you place will have a large impact on the type of rental experience you have. If you place a good tenant who pays on time, takes care of the home, and follows the terms of your lease, you’ll be a successful landlord, with consistent rental income and climbing ROI. If you place a bad tenant who is always late with rent, causes property damage, and violates the lease, you’ll have headaches, frustration, and extra expenses to look forward to as a landlord.
Tenant screening in Ashburn needs to be fair, consistent, and thorough.
Provide an Application that Complies with Fair Housing Laws
Fair housing laws prohibit landlords from discriminating against certain classes of people. To avoid discrimination and ensure every applicant is screened the same, provide a list of written rental criteria to all prospective applicants. You can state what you’re looking for in a tenant, whether that’s a minimum credit score, minimum income, lack of a criminal history, no past evictions, etc.
If your applicants know what your standards are, they will likely only apply for the home if they know they’re going to qualify. Stick to these criteria when you’re screening applicants and approving or denying applications, and you cannot be accused of treating applicants unfairly.
Check an Applicant’s Financial Background
Most tenant screening processes start with a credit check. You’ll want to look for prior evictions and judgments or money owed to landlords or management companies. Not all tenants will have perfect credit, but you should know what to look for in the credit report. For example, a tenant who has overdue or unpaid utility bills will be a higher risk than a tenant with a mountain of medical debt. You want a tenant who puts housing bills first.
Income is also important. Verify an applicant’s employment and ask to see proof of income in the form of pay stubs, tax returns, or bank statements. Most landlords require that tenants earn at least three times the monthly rent. So, if your property rents for $1,200 a month, you’ll want a tenant who earns at least $3,600 per month.
Rental History and Landlord References
Talk to current and former landlords. This is the best indication of how tenants have performed in the past, and how they are likely to perform in the future. Ask if rent was paid on time, if there was property damage left behind, if the tenant had any pets, and whether the landlord would rent to that resident again.
Finally, check criminal and background information. You don’t want to rent to anyone who poses a threat to your neighbors or other tenants in a building.
If you have any questions about tenant screening or you’d like to learn more about our process, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Castle Property Management. We screen our tenants rigorously, and we’d be happy to share additional tips.