Screening to Find the Best Tenants For Your Jacksonville Property
Effective tenant screening is fair, rigorous, and compliant with all federal, state, and local fair housing laws. When you’re trying to find a tenant who will pay rent on time, take good care of your property, and respect the terms of your lease agreement, you need to do some digging into their background.
These are some of the screening steps you don’t want to miss.
Provided Rental Criteria with Applications
All adults 18 years of age or older who will live in the property need to fill out an application and submit to the screening process. Before a tenant fills out an application, provide your standard rental criteria so they’ll have a good idea of whether or not they’ll qualify. This will save all parties some time and money. If you require a certain income level, for example, and they don’t meet it, they should know that before taking the time to apply.
Your application should be complete and signed, and there should be something in the form that grants you permission to run credit, conduct a criminal background check, and talk to former and current landlords.
Check Credit and Criminal Histories
You’ll want to start with a nationwide eviction check. It’s risky to rent to tenants who have been evicted previously, especially in the last 10 years. Check criminal backgrounds as well. Look for violent offenses that might indicate the prospective tenant is a potential threat. Drug-related convictions may also raise a red flag because you don’t want any illegal activity in your property.
Credit checks are useful in knowing how much debt your applicant has and whether they are responsible with housing-related obligations. You might find a low credit score because of a period of unemployment or personal problems. What’s more important is whether they continued to pay their rent. Look for any outstanding debts owed to former landlords, property managers, or apartment communities. You don’t want to see overdue utility payments at past properties.
Verify Income and Employment
Part of your screening process needs to be making sure the potential tenant can pay rent every month. The industry standard is that you look for tenants who earn at least three times the monthly rent. So, if your property rents for $1,500 per month, you’ll need to see at least $4,500 in monthly income. Ask for verification and documentation. You can talk to employers, collect pay stubs, or look at tax returns and bank statements.
Talk to Former Landlords
One of the best ways to understand how a tenant has performed in the past is by talking to people who have been that person’s landlord. Ask how often rent was late and if the tenant received a full security deposit refund. Talk about pets and whether the appropriate amount of time was given before the tenant vacated. You want to know your prospective resident followed the lease terms and acted responsibly.
These are just a few of the most important things to pay attention to when you’re screening your tenants. If you need help leasing out your property or you have any general questions about Jacksonville property management, please contact us at St. Johns Properties.