More than merely building rental houses, we want to have the right people occupying them. As a landlord, I could open myself up to unwelcome investigations because I didn’t take the time to properly vet potential tenants. We currently have multiple software programs that handle such vetting. Still, it does not mean we completely give up the process in favor of these systems.

If I want to have a peaceful sleep and be sure that the person in my house is not a threat, I found a few tips to be handy in screening potential tenants.

Create and Document a Qualification Process

In this document, I will include all the questions that I find relevant to understand the person applying for a rental room. There are samples of such applications online, making it easy to draft one of our own; the more specific the questions, the better. We should also ensure that these applications do not go against the Fair House Act. It could lead us into unfavorable situations with the government.

Prove the Validity of All Answers

A human being could say anything to find a way to a favorable outcome, including cheating on a tenant application form. To avoid filing the wrong information, it’s my job to verify that the potential tenant is truthful. Talking to their previous landlord and employer will help clarify most of the information they give.

It is also possible for potential tenants to submit fake trustees; therefore, I should ensure I contact the right people. While running through the verification process, we should avoid writing comments on the forms. The potential tenant could try to use the text for claims of discrimination.

Verify Sources of Income

Technology advancement is a clear indicator that human beings are becoming smarter. The deals we could barely find a way to forge a while back only now need a few clicks to get similar ones. This makes it harder to tell if someone’s employment status is accurate. Thankfully, I can still work around these technologies to get the truth I need concerning a tenant’s financial position. One way is by asking for the last three bank statements and contacting their banks for more information.

Find Them on Social Media

Almost everyone is on social media, making it relatively easy to tell what kind of people we are interacting with. If I can find your potential tenants on social media, I should go through their profiles. Doing so will give me a glimpse of their lifestyles to help me make a better decision in choosing who I will rent out the house to and who is a risk to my community.

Talk to Their Family Members

This is a great way to run a background check. If I can find a close relative, I could reach out to find out more information. Such conversations also verify that I am dealing with the right person, especially for people who have common names.

Consider Using a Property Manager

Suppose I am a landlord with other businesses that need my attention. In that case, I might not have the time to perform a thorough tenant screening. This is where a property manager comes to my rescue. Such people know their way around tenant-landlord relationships and have previous experience in handling different possible applications. A property manager may notice a questionable applicant who could have quickly passed by a first-time landlord.

The Bottom Line

I will not always know when a person is trying to trick me into certain situations, and gut feelings could not always be accurate. However, I ensure that no stone is left unturned by adequately screening potential tenants. Therefore, it is safer to prove that my tenants are good citizens rather than just believing the best in everyone.