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5 Ways Landlords Can Research Applicants & Avoid Surprises

Would you rather lose the rental income for another month or take on a bad tenant. Bad tenants can cost you much more than a months rent in the long run. Make sure you do your due diligence on the front end (at application time) before accepting an applicant. Here are 5 very good ways to make sure you fully understands your next potential tenant.

Sufficient Income:

Does the proposed tenant make enough money to pay the rent and utilities? Landlords typically require that your annual income is at least 40 times the monthly rent. For example, if you have a young couple looking at a $3,000 per month apartment, the landlord would require a combined income of $3,000 × 40, which equals $120,000. To determine how much rent you (and your spouse) can afford, simply divide your combined annual incomes by 40. It’s important to make sure you’re tenants are financially capable (in your eyes) of paying the rent and utilities. Do the math, and if the budget appears too tight, move on to the next applicant.

Qualifying Credit:

What is the tenants credit score or rating? Do they have any accounts in collection? Have they ever been evicted from a prior residence? Either you or the tenant should be pulling credit for each applicant that applys for your empty unit. If you are going to pull a credit report, make sure the application you supply the tenant clearly provides you with authorization to do so.

Reasons For Moving:

Why are you moving? Where are you coming from? What don’t you like about your current residence? Have you notified your current landlord of your intent to vacate? These are 4 great questions to ask a prospective tenant when you receive their application. If you want to take this search a step further you can Google Earth their current residence or even take a drive by (if you’re local). Gathering an image of the tenants current residence may help you get an idea of whether their new home (your apartment) will fit the bill.

Employment Verification:

Call the prospects (current employer’s) HR department. Do they work there? How long have they worked there? Is employment expected to continue for this individual? Make sure the application you’re using to collect tenant information provides authorization for you to make this inquiry. The HR member may also want to verify some information about the employee so have the application in hand when making the call.   

Google Search:

Do a quick Google search for the applicants name and see what pops up. Does America’s Most Wanted pop up as the first website or is a photo of the prospective donating their time to a local charity? In the first case you’ll certainly want to contact the local authorities about your possible discovery. In the 2nd scenario you will hopefully have a better feeling about the tenant you were going to accept.  Note: Any negative information you find on Google should be taken through some type of verification process. You cannot deny a tenant(s) application solely based on something you found online.

Need help finding a good, qualified tenant? Don’t have time to do showings for your empty unit(s)? Let us help. We assist landlords in locating a qualified tenants, often at not cost to the landlord. We will show your unit to potential tenants, collect tenant applications and conduct necessary screening before submitting the applicant to you for review and approval.

If you’re interested in learning more about our tenant location services, please call us at 617-297-8641 or email us at Contact@MandrellCo.com