Tenant screening is one of the most important responsibilities for any landlord or property manager. When you’re renting out your Kelowna property, make sure you’re attracting and screening the best possible renters. A good tenant will pay rent on time, take care of your home, and follow the terms of your lease. You’ll earn regular income and allow your property to continue appreciating in value. With a bad tenant, you’ll face late rent, the potential for property damage, and a lot of turnover. The tenant you place directly impacts the success of your investment experience.
Take Advantage of Tenant Verification Services
Individual landlords can often have trouble screening tenants thoroughly on their own. If you don’t have access to things like credit reports, national criminal records, and eviction searches, hire a professional property management company or access one of the tenant verification services that are available to landlords. You need a company that can check credit and background thoroughly. Once the information is provided to you, you’ll need to know how to analyze the information and measure it against your rental criteria.
Verify Employment and Income
It’s important that you choose a tenant who can afford to pay your rent every month. Check with the employers listed on your application and verify position, length of employment, and salary. The industry standard is that tenants earn at least three times the monthly rent. You can ask for pay stubs, bank statements, tax records, and other supporting documentation to prove what the potential tenants earn.
Check Landlord References Carefully
Talk to current and former landlords to get an idea of whether your tenant caused any trouble or performed as expected. You can ask whether rent was paid on time, if property damage was left behind, and whether the tenants provided proper notice before moving out. Ask if they would consider renting to this tenant again. You’ll need to make sure you’re actually talking to the landlord or property manager. Tenants who have bad landlord references may try to get away with providing contact information for friends and family members. Do a little research and make sure you’re talking to the right person.
Check a Tenant’s Online Personality
We recommend you go beyond the standard credit and background checks when you’re screening tenants. Google your tenant and see what comes up. Look at their social media pages. You can learn a lot, especially if your applicants are behind dishonest. Perhaps they claim not to have pets, for example, but every Instagram picture shows them with a couple of German Shepherds who look like family. You’ll get an idea of their lifestyle and the way they treat their homes and property.
Finding the best tenants can be seasonal. You’ll need to know when good tenants tend to look for a new home, and make sure your lease resets during those times. This will help you prevent a longer vacancy period and position you to attract the tenants you’re hoping to place.
If you need help finding and screening tenants, please contact us at Vantage West Property Management. We have a lot of experience helping property owners place great renters in their investment homes.