One of the most important steps for a landlord to take when renting their unit is to screen each and every potential tenant. Doing so will hopefully prevent renting to a problem tenant, thereby saving the landlord a lot of stress arising from rental issues. Here are the five main reasons why landlords need to screen all of their prospective tenants:
- Tenant history will tell of any past issues. When screening a tenant, make sure to check out their background history to see if they have a criminal background, have damaged past properties they’ve lived at, or ended a rental contract early. Usually, if they’ve done it before, it is more likely that they can do it again.
- Late payments. Check out a tenant’s credit history to see if they have a bad habit of paying rent or other bills late. Talking to past landlords will also give any insight into whether they will become a problem tenant in regards to paying the rent.
- Property damage or loss. By screening a tenant and doing thorough background checks that include criminal and eviction history, a landlord can weed out the tenants who might possibly be violent or cause damage to the unit.
- Liability. Tenant screening can also ensure that a landlord won’t be pursued legally in case a tenant engages in illegal activities in the unit or property. For example, if a tenant sells drugs out of the apartment, a landlord can possibly be held liable, even though they don’t live there and only rent out the property.
- Early lease termination. Screening a prospective tenant and reaching out to past landlords, current employer, and professional or personal references can increase the odds that the tenant will not break the lease early. If past landlords cite there was a problem with early lease termination or with late payments, reject the tenant and let them know exactly why.