7 Ways to Improve Your Screening Practices

It often seems like no matter what your screening process is like, too many less than acceptable tenants still manage to slip through the cracks and end up causing you nothing but heartache. When you find this happening to you, perhaps it’s time for you to take a look at your screening process and see if there is anywhere you can tweak and improve it. Here are seven things you can do (if you are not doing them already) to improve your screening process.

Set the Standard

Since you are the one who makes the decisions regarding who you rent to and who you don’t, it is up to you to set the standards for each tenant. But, be sure you set them to match your business priorities.

Use Automatic Approvals

Once you have set the rental criteria, you should be able to make use of automatic approvals for the vast majority of your applicants. This will help to speed up the process and cut down on individual decision-making. This will help reduce the risk of a Fair Housing Act Violation. You can still use the manual approval process for any borderline applicants, just be sure to restrict this process to those who are authorized to make this kind of decision.

Verify Identity

During the application process, you must be sure to verify the applicant’s identity. Not only can this save you time and money by not having to re-run the screening due to incorrect information on the application.

Renters vs Guarantors

If you allow prospective tenants to use a guarantor in order to meet your criteria, you need to make sure you set different standards for both. The last thing you want is to end up with a less than acceptable tenant just because he has a guarantor with deep pockets.

Use an External Screening Company

What do you do when one of your applicants comes back to you because he has an issue with his rental report? The best way for you to deal with this is to not deal with it. This is where you might find hiring a third-party screening service might come in handy. It becomes their job to deal with the disgruntled applicants. Doing this will make it possible for you to approve those applicants who might otherwise have been turned away due to erroneous information on their credit reports.

Tailor Your Criteria

If you have several different rental properties, you need to tailor your screening criteria to meet the needs of each property. You can tailor them to meet market conditions by community or local region.

Be Ready for Unique Situations

While you need to have a standard set of criteria for the bulk of your applicants. For example, when an applicant has stellar credit with the exception of perhaps a foreclosure or a mortgage that is currently in default. It would be a shame to miss out on this type of opportunity.

By following these tips, you can minimize the risk of having a less than stellar tenant end up in one of your rental units. As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. “