Finding high quality tenants for your Oakland rental property is an important first step in having a successful and profitable rental experience. When you’re screening for tenants you need to know what to look for and how to maintain a consistent and documented application process. Today, we’re discussing how to effectively screen tenants.
Conduct Open Houses for Rental Property
We suggest you run open houses when you’re renting out your property. Block off an hour or two during the weekend in order to get a bunch of people there to see the property, ask questions, and get any answers that they might need while viewing the home. You might also be able to explain some things about the property and talk about who is responsible for what in the lease agreement, and which utilities are included and which are not.
At open houses, you can really maximize the foot traffic going through the property. We also suggest that you are there and available. Using a lockbox can be an effective way of allowing potential tenants to see the home on their own, but if you’re present, you can answer questions, tell them what your requirements are, and take some steps to pre-screen prospective renters.
Applications and Background Checks
It’s important to do a thorough background check when you’re screening applications. Conduct a nationwide eviction and criminal background check for every applicant over 18 years of age. You will want to run their credit history as well, and call previous landlords to make sure they treated their last property properly. If the prospective tenants have pets, you can call the veterinarian’s office and make sure they are up to date on their shots.
Be sure to call the applicant’s employer for income verification. You want to make sure they can afford the rent, and you need to know that the amount on their application reflects what they actually earn. We require tenants to earn at least three times the monthly rent. That guarantees that there is enough money to cover the rent and any other expenses that come up throughout the month.
Good credit is also important. We generally require a 700+ FICO score. This ensures the tenants are more likely to make their rental payment on time. Depending on what credit software you use, it will also screen for evictions and bankruptcies.
Pay Attention to Fair Housing Laws
Make sure you follow all federal, state, and local fair housing laws. Here at Vision, we always take the very first qualified applicant. We go in order from when they apply, and based on those applicants, we choose the best-qualified tenant based on income, credit, references, and previous rental history.
We found that allowing tenants to apply online reduces vacancy time and gets those applications completed and submitted a lot quicker than if they had to come in and pick up an application.