Property Management Blog

How to Screen for Good, Qualified Tenants | Richmond Hill Property Management Advice

Cecilia Bird - Wednesday, March 01, 2017


Last time we talked about the different protocols of property management companies in Richmond Hill and the surrounding areas, and the systems they put into place to effectively manage your property. Today, we’re talking about the best ways to conduct tenant screening so you can find qualified tenants to be approved to move into your property.

Applications and Documentation

The process starts with the tenant looking at their options, and that can be a stressful situation for a tenant. In most cases, they’re in town for one day or a couple of days at most, and they need to look at their options and make a decision. Then, they’ll come back to the office and fill out an application for the property they have decided on. Or, they will go online to fill out the application. In addition to the application, we need a copy of their driver’s license, and they are also required to give me a copy of their last pay stub. If they don’t have a pay stub because they’re moving to the area for a new job, we ask for a copy of the contract that states they’ll begin working for the ports or Gulfstream or the school system, or wherever they’ve been hired.

Rental References

If they have rented in the past, I ask for a rental reference directly from the current landlord. If they have been there for less than two years, I ask for a reference from their previous landlord as well. The rental verification will tell me how they take care of their property, whether they’ve ever had any unauthorized pets or people in the property. If they own a home and they are moving, that will show on their credit report.

Reading the Credit Report

We pull the credit report and gather the documentation to see a history of how financially stable they are, how they pay bills. The credit report is vital. You have to know how to read it, especially since the economic downturn. A lot of people's credit was damaged during the economic downturn, so you must know what you’re looking for when you’re checking a credit report. If someone lost a job and was unemployed for six months, it’s possible they lost their home to a foreclosure. So, if you see that on the credit report, but they have re-established themselves since then and work consistently, that damaged credit will not be a problem. You shouldn’t look just at the score. Use a property manager who knows how to read a credit report and can look through that report to see red flags. There might be things that look like red flags because they impact the score, but they’re not. You don’t want potential prospects for your property to be turned down if they would make good tenants, because that leaves your property vacant.

Look at Bank Statements

If I ever have a situation where the numbers aren’t quite where I want them to be, but everything else looks okay on the application, I will require the applicant to give me three or six months’ worth of bank statements. Then, I can see how they are living and managing their finances on a day to day basis. The bank statements will show you a daily history of how money is managed. Typically, the way one takes care of finances indicates how one will take care of your home. These are some of the things involved in finding qualified tenants for your home. There’s lots more involved, and I’d be happy to discuss it further. If you have any questions about Richmond Hill property management, or you’d like more detail about how to screen a tenant, please contact us at RE/MAX Accent Property Management Services by Cecilia Bird.