One of the fundamental jobs of a Property Manager is to find good tenants. There are various screening tools at the property manager’s disposal. I find the following three to be the most useful-
- Credit Report
The credit report is a tool to assess the prospective tenant’s ability to pay bills on time. If they have had a difficult time paying bills in the past, there is a good chance they could have a difficult time paying in the future.
I don’t place much weight on personal references. An applicant is only going to list references that will give positive remarks. Employers and previous landlords on the other hand can provide useful information to select a tenant.
- Rental Application
Not only do I get the basic details from the rental application, but also I take a close look at how it was done. If it is incomplete or messy, it can be an indicator about the applicant. It may not be enough to reject a tenant, but it contributes to the evaluation.
Remember you cannot be arbitrary about rejecting prospective tenants. According to fair housing laws, it is illegal to reject an applicant based on race, religion, ethnic background, sex, age or because he or she has children or a physical disability.
If you are considering hiring a property manager, check in with them about how they select tenants, it is one of their most important jobs.