While part of preparing a rental property for market is getting the physical space move-in ready, the other part is addressing non-physical details such as tenant screening. Due to the potential consequences of oversights or poor decisions in this area, it’s important to take a meticulous, preventative approach. To learn a few critical steps, read the following tip sheet by Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Sam LaPlaca of CM Property Management Inc.:
1. Verify income. Accepting a tenant who can’t afford the rent is a mistake that can cost you a lot of time, money and frustration. That’s why, in addition to asking for pay stubs and bank statements, you should run a credit check to further verify an applicant’s income.
2. Look into rental history. While verifying income is crucial, you also want to make sure your new tenant isn’t going to disturb the peace or wreck your property. Verifying an applicant’s rental history can be difficult because you can’t be entirely sure of who you’re speaking to on the phone. If possible, in addition to contacting their previous landlord, try to pay a visit to their former residence.
3. Make sure your rental agreement covers all contingencies. A rental agreement should address everything from the amount and due date of rent to restrictions regarding noise and pets. To make sure all your bases are covered, consider having a property manager assess your rental agreement and make note of anything that’s not included but should be. Prior to your new tenant’s move-in date, go over the rental agreement with them so they have a thorough understanding of your expectations.
4. Perform move-in/move-out inspections. It’s crucial to thoroughly document the condition of your property before your new tenant moves in. Take pictures of the carpet, walls and other areas—that way, when the tenant moves out, you’ll have photographic evidence to resolve any discrepancies regarding property damage.