Tenant background screening. Fundamentally necessary, but often overlooked. Here are my five tips to increase your odds of landing the right tenant for your investment property with essential tenant background screening criteria all potential tenants should go thru:
- Criminal Background: Thru a third party provider, screen each tenant’s criminal background at the local, state and national level.
- Credit History: It’s always best for the tenant to get their own at any online provider. Make sure they are recent, it has the name of that tenant, a minimum of two credit scores, and that the history of such ratings is detailed.
- Proof of Employment: Depending on the employer, you can get this verification over the phone, but it’s always best on the company’s letterhead. Each employer has a different procedure for releasing this information. At a minimum, the published data should contain the tenant’s name and their salary.
- Proof of Income: Ask for recent pay-stubs which have the tenant and company name on it.
- Previous Landlord Verification: For this one, you have to be sneaky. You ask the tenant for their last landlord contact info. Then phone the landlord and ask three questions: a) would you rent to such tenants again b) what is the address of the leased property c) what is your complete name (the landlord’s).
Tenant Background Screening – Going the extra mile
As the prior landlord is telling you their name, pull up the address on the county’s tax records to verify that the address matches the landlord’s name. It all has to match! If the name of the property is under a company name, then you will have to take an extra step.
Go to www.sunbiz.org and pull up the name of the company. Here you will be able to see if the landlord you are talking to is a manager (owner) of the company.
Ever Evicted a Tenant?
- Best case scenario, the eviction process takes about 30 days to complete.
- It costs a few hundred dollars if you do it yourself.
- If you hire an attorney, the bill may run from approximately $400 to $1,000. Why the range?
The longer the tenant takes to vacate the property, the more filings an attorney would perform to kick out the tenant. That means more money from you. And vice versa, the quicker the tenant vacates the unit, the less filling, and so on.