It's easy to let the fears of an intense news cycle, such as the one associated with the novel Coronavirus pandemic, affect you in your day-to-day work. However, if you have tenants scheduled to move out soon and you're worried about placing your new renters, do not let this stop you from doing your due diligence!
Screening tenants is a crucial component of rental property management, Leesburg landlords—even if the results mean waiting a little longer until you have the right applicant. Even if you are a DIY landlord, recognizing the value of screening your renters thoroughly can protect you from disaster down the road!
Tenant screening is never meant to be unduly harsh or in any way discriminatory. Instead, it is your opportunity to do some research into the prospective renter you will entrust your property to. This informs you of whether your potential tenant is a good fit who has a clean record, or has been a financial disaster for other landlords.
You don't have to be a property manager to safely screen your renters (even though we make it much easier)! Use these tips from the experts in property management, Leesburg landlords, to conduct the right research!
Please note: This blog is not intended to act as legal advice. When in doubt, reach out to your skilled attorney or the best property management Leesburg has to offer! Gunn Property Services is proud to assist and support property owners during these troubled times.
Start With Reputable, FCRA-Compliant Screenings
Checking a potential renter's credit score and background for red flags is a logical choice—but you can't just go digging at random. The Fair Credit Reporting Act offers legal guidance as to when you can factor in and pull credit ratings and reports. However, if you want to abide by all of the requirements of this complex legislation successfully, you need to work with screening companies that operate within the law.
Here are some of the key areas you should be investigating when you work with a third-party screening service. Alternatively, if you already have a working relationship with the best property management Leesburg has to offer, you can ask them to handle the heavy lifting for you!
A credit check can give you information on how much debt this individual may have, their record of on-time or late payments, and other marks for or against someone's credit.
Checking credit and finding one or two smaller, troubling pieces of information may mean you simply want to have a conversation with the potential tenant and see what was going on during those times. While many otherwise reliable renters have experienced difficulties making payments right now due to COVID-19, a track record or pattern of missing or late payments should be a red flag.
Not every criminal charge or conviction is relevant to your purposes as a landlord. Think carefully about what kinds of behavior, such as fraud or repeated disorderly conduct, might impact the ability of this tenant to have a good relationship with you and with neighbors.
Some screening services will even allow you to have them remove or blot out any "irrelevant data" on a background check to help you avoid discriminatory evaluation of this tenant. Navigating the background check is just one more area where working with the best property management Leesburg landlords have access to can simplify an otherwise complex process.
Rental History and References
One of the most valuable pieces of information that a tenant can bring with them is their complete history of other rentals and references to past landlords or property managers. If those people can vouch for your new tenant, it can be a very positive point in their favor. Even someone who has credit trouble from their past but who has paid their rent faithfully since then may be an excellent candidate for your property.
Put Measures in Place to Avoid Discrimination
As mentioned above, you absolutely want to avoid discrimination. It's easy to assume that you are objective when, in fact, your bias might just be hidden.
Rather than hoping that you're entirely unbiased, create a system that simply doesn't leave room for personal bias. You're much more likely to choose a tenant who has the qualifications you need with a dedicated system. If you want to learn more about how to avoid accidental bias in your screening process, consulting with professional property management, Leesburg landlords, is the smart move!
Hire a Property Manager With Strong Tenant Screening Processes
Property managers have learned how to quickly and reliably find your next renter through a highly refined screening process. This makes it easy for them to find a new resident for your Leesburg rental home quickly while selecting the applicant who has no rent-related red flags.
This not only saves you the time and hassle of learning how to do tenant screening well, but it also saves you the expense of screening renter after renter when your own process falls short. Your Leesburg property manager will also be knowledgeable when it comes to the advantages of specialized kinds of screening, such as pet screening. These are all ways that they protect you and your rental income!
Want to learn more about tenant screening and the value of hiring Leesburg property management services? Contact us today for a free consultation.