After a successful marketing campaign of your Boston rental home, your next focus is landing the right tenant from your pool of prospects. Other landlords may skip this step and pick a tenant right away with minimal background checking. Though this initially saves time, the decision will have an impact in the future.
It’s recommended to run a more meticulous tenant screening process since this helps eliminate problems at the outset. Identifying a great tenant is easier. When we talk about quality, it means someone who can pay the rent in your Boston unit every month, possesses a stable job, has no criminal record, has a good tenant history, and acts in a responsible manner. You also want to select a prospect that could become a long-term tenant.
Process of Screening Tenants
Part of preparing to screen renters is to develop a minimum criteria of standards to match the applicants. Your procedure should be designed to support your selection of the right candidate that fits the standards you set.
Here are the steps in tenant screening:
1. Perform a Pre-Screening
Conducting a pre-screening should start early and be part of your marketing ads. It must already contain your requirements, such as pet policies or utility bill sharing in your Boston property. During your first conversation with potential tenants, you should be asking vital questions and assessing them when performing a property showing.
The purpose of screening is to alert you to red flags to save you time and energy in the future. Most renters who fail to qualify usually give up at the start. This can narrow down your focus on the ones who are qualified to be accepted as renters in your Boston rental home.
2. Prepare an Application
Your rental form should reveal the following information from a prospect:
- Contact information.
- Current address and landlord’s contact details.
- Former residence history with the list of landlords’ names and contact details.
- Present and former employers, job title, salary, reference to contact, and length of employment.
- Authorization for credit and background checking.
It’s essential to review the income of the tenant during this screening phase. Ensure that the renter makes at least triple the rental dues in your Boston unit. Circumstances can also be taken into consideration, and you may exempt a prospect from this basic rule if a renter shows financial responsibility and lack of debt. After completing this step, you can begin contacting references and check out the background and credit of the applicant.
3. Verify the Tenant’s Income and Employment
The objective of employment verification is to check if the renters revealed the correct information about their income. Another is to match what the references are saying since some applicants can write down fake references.
There are different ways to reach out to the employer. You must do an initial research on whether a firm assigns a specific email address or contact number for verification. Both methods allow you to learn if the applicants are real employees of the company they divulged.
4. Contact an Applicant’s Current and Previous Landlord
It’s good practice to reach out to a current and previous landlord to determine the actual rental behavior of a prospect. The present landlord may want to remove the renter from the rental and won’t reveal negative things while the former landlord can easily disclose whether the tenant has paid the rent on time, created disturbance, or left the property with damages.
It may also happen that a tenant will request a family member or friend to imitate a landlord to pass the screening. To get past this scam, you can talk first about the available rental spaces that the reference has to determine if they’re telling the truth before proceeding to verify details about the prospective renter.
5. Evaluate the Tenant’s Credit Reports and Background Checks
It’s important to request authorization for a credit and background check from the applicant. Even if it’s tempting to accept a ready credit report from the renter to save time and money, you want to avoid the possibility of altering the information. It’s important to check out the tenant’s credit score and credit history on your own.
Another important area to keep your eye on is the credit history. This is where you’ll be aware of monthly payments that the tenant must pay and their full payment history.
It’s important to determine whether the prospects are capable of meeting the monthly rental payments of your Boston rental home, especially if they have an existing debt obligation. Take note of the renters’ income if they can easily cover their regular payments such as credit cards or car loans.
6. Decide Whether to Accept or Reject a Prospective Renter
After thoroughly assessing the tenant’s background, it’s time to make a decision to approve or deny the application. If the decision is affirmative, you can reach out to the applicant. At this stage, you must provide information to the tenant regarding the remaining step of signing the rental agreement.
If the decision is negative, you can communicate it by writing an email. This can be your proof of denial should an applicant bring the matter to court.
Reasons are generally not outlined in the decision unless the applicant asks. Providing a legal reason is best. Stick to adhering to the Fair Housing Laws and avoid rejecting any renter based on race, age, gender, and other protected classes. It’s acceptable to reject an application for a credit report, references, or income that doesn’t meet the standards you set.
Tenant screening is a critical phase when renting out your property in Boston. It helps you reduce stress in the long run and filter high-quality renters you can rely on from the bad ones who can end up causing property damage and financial losses.
If you need help with tenant screening, or any other aspect of property management, contact Boston Green Property Management. We can minimize your stress and maximize your return on investment.