Managing tenant relationships is probably the most difficult yet critical aspect of successful property management. Landlords must be legally choosy about who they rent to. Getting the right tenant in your property is the very best way to reduce risk. If you do this well, your landlord experience will go much more smoothly!
So, what does it mean to be legally choosy?
It means you can’t just take a prospective tenant’s word about their identity, character, income, or history. You absolutely must develop objective rental criteria (that apply to everyone) and screen potential tenants based on those criteria – No Matter Who They Are!
Landlord Mistake #1 is trusting the rental applicant too much!
Let’s face it, it’s faster and easier to trust your instinct about a potential renter – especially when the applicant is friendly, courteous, and clean, and you “click” with them. Maybe they were even referred to you by a friend. But trusting instinct is not good enough, you must make this business decision based on facts!
Why do some landlords mistakenly trust, rather than a screen, applicants?
No Time. No Tools. No Training.
No Time – When you advertise your vacancy online (e.g. Zillow), you may be flooded with applications. It takes time to read and respond to the applicants and schedule showings. By the time you get to screening the applicants, it can be hard to invest additional time into running the tenant’s data through a professional screening system; contacting character references and employers; comparing the results to your rental criteria. But it is necessary!
No Tools – If you have never screened a tenant properly, you might not know the best way to gather information about debt load, employment stability, criminal history, and rental track record.
No Training – If you are not an expert on Fair Housing and Landlord Tenant Law, it is difficult to establish fair, legal, rental criteria. But, failing to do so is a potential liability. Landlords must evaluate tenants based on legal standards, not personal preference. And, once you gather the screening results, it can be overwhelming to identify all of the red flags (that a professional property manager will spot right away)!
Pro Property management takes the job of screening tenants quite seriously. In fact, once in a while a newer client chastises us for passing on an applicant that, on the surface, looks great (to them…). However, clients stick with us because we excel at placing the RIGHT tenant in their properties, even if it means waiting a bit longer. They trust our expertise.
If you have an overly trusting soul, or you simply don’t have the time, tools, or training for proper screening, let’s talk soon. Call us at (203) 909-6333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know if we can be of service.