Before tenants sign the agreement, a good screening process is an important aspect every landlord should know about. It saves landlords from painful experiences with tenants in the future and keeps the property in the best shape. If not screened well, you might bring in a troublesome tenant who bullies their neighbors, fails to pay rent on time, destroys property, or turns out to be a wanted criminal.
The screening process must be thorough, consistent, and cleverly carried out to ensure you don’t leave out any important detail. Many landlords hire a property manager to help them with the process, but if you decide to do it yourself, these processes will be important in your list.
Set your rules
Because the property is yours, your first step will be to set your rules. These are guidelines that you will follow in the screening process. Type and print them so that you can keep ticking against each during the screening process. Your potential tenant should not see you reading from a list and they should not be very generic questions. If you fail on this, they might get an idea of what you are looking for, and they might fake the answers to meet your requirements.
It might be better for you to work with a property manager during the process. The manager can help you screen the tenant because they will not likely leave out any detail. Ensure that you approach only well-known Atlanta result-oriented property managers who know the tenant screening processes well. Result-oriented property managers work closely with their experienced team to conduct a foolproof screening process for tenants. They make sure not to sign an agreement with troublesome tenants. You will not lack some good property managers in Atlanta to work with. Some of the good options you have are Evernest, Mynd, or Excalibur.
Your list of requirements should have details such as tenant income, their history with previous landlords, and references from the employer. You should also include a requirement to search the criminal history of the tenant. If they have ever been evicted, you should be interested to know why.
Begin the initial screening
Your list of expectations is the one that will guide you through the entire process. Some landlords start with a pre-screening process during the property advertisement. They prepare a form for tenants to fill online and submit it with their request form to rent the property. It helps the landlord save their time and the time of the potential tenant.
There are other details you cannot get from the pre-screening session because it might not be appropriate to ask some kind of questions online. You need to sit with the tenant one on one to ask some more personal questions. It will be easy for you to observe their facial expressions to know if they have something they are hiding. On your part, be sure not to hide any details about your property. If there are some features the tenant wants but you don’t have in your property, be open to telling the truth. It will reflect well on your image.
When you sit with your tenant to screen, be sure to confirm the information they indicated in the application form. Suppose you are not sure you will handle some information such as criminal history, credit record, or history of evictions. In that case, you should seek the services of an experienced company that specialize in such activities.
By the time you are halfway through the screening process, you will have known to a certain percentage if the tenant before you is fit to move in or not. If you are convinced that you are handling the wrong person, you should terminate the process immediately. If you are still comfortable, go on with the process to complete the formalities.
Complete the screening process
The final part will be to decide whether to choose them as the tenant or not. You might not decide on the spot but you might want to ask the tenant to wait for your feedback on the day or the next day. Most of them will wait, even if it means waiting for another two to three days.
If you had involved a property manager from the beginning, consult again to compare notes. Looking closely into the answers given by the tenant, your conscience will tell you if you are dealing with a good person. If you feel some confusion, it might be better to go a step further to consult a lawyer for advice. This is only if you feel the tenant might have bad records with the law because if you let them in and they cause gross trouble, you might be questioned by the law enforcers to explain the screening process you followed.