There is no denying that the property screening of tenants is a must for Bellevue property management companies. A simple fact is that tenant screening is essential for both property management companies and the general well-being and quality of experience of all residents. Just a few problematic residents can change the quality of everyone’s experience. Property management companies must properly screen tenants in order to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
The Importance of Screening Prospective Tenants
So what should you, as a property manager, look for when screening prospective residents? A criminal background checks and credit check is the foundation of any good screening process, but it is far from the end of the process.
The bottom line is that there are several other factors involved in securing quality tenants. Your checklist should include verifying job, salary and how long a prospective resident has been employed at a given company, as well as bank statements showing deposits and W2 forms. You’ll also want to verify your prospective renter’s payment history at past rental properties.
Properly Screening Prospective Tenants Means Fewer Headaches
There are many reasons that the property screening of tenants has to be taken so seriously. First, property managers have to make quite certain that any new residents that they add to their property are able to pay their rent and pay on time; after all, you are running a business and you need to take all necessary steps to ensure that any new resident can pay the rent on time.
The last thing you want to do is deal with complicated issues involving eviction or spend your time bothering a resident for their rent. Other residents will not get the attention that they deserve if you are spending your time focusing on a small number of residents that are failing to meet their financial obligations.
Issues Associated with Unqualified Residents
Secondly, you have a responsibility to consider the problems that could arise for other residents if an unqualified resident slips through the screening process. Criminal background checks are, of course, very important and play a key role in establishing a baseline for resident safety. It is important to remember that even if a resident doesn’t have a criminal record, that an inability to pay his or her bills or past rental problems could be major red flags that could directly or indirectly negatively impact the quality of life for other residents.
Without proper screening of prospective tenants, it is possible that poor residents could be added to your property and a wide range of problems could ensue. At the end of the day, it is better to side with caution and have high standards.
Following the Laws
You may want to schedule a phone call to ask the prospective tenant questions. However, be sure to focus more on issues involving the property rather than the tenant him or herself. Otherwise, you could accidentally fail to follow the Fair Housing Act. This act ensures that landlords and property managers do not discriminate based on disability, race, religion, sex, children or country of origin. Keep the discussion focused on practical matters such as pets, whether or not they smoke and their hours at work.
The Tenants Union of Washington State website gives additional information that will be essential to know.
Letting prospective residents know that you have high standards is actually a very good thing, as it helps you establish that you are running a tight ship. At the same time, prospective residents will see that you are looking to create a safe environment. That factor will no doubt leave a positive overall impression.