(732) 807-5757‬ brian@shoreviewpm.com

Tenant Screening

Screening tenants is an important process for landlords to ensure that they choose reliable and responsible individuals to rent their property. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to screen a tenant:

  • Create a Tenant Application Form:
    • Develop a comprehensive tenant application form that includes essential information such as personal details, rental history, employment information, and references.
  • Require Photo ID and Proof of Income:
    • Request a copy of the tenant’s government-issued photo ID to verify their identity.
    • Ask for proof of income, such as pay stubs, bank statements, or employment verification, to ensure they can afford the rent.
  • Check Rental History:
    • Contact previous landlords to inquire about the tenant’s rental history. Ask about their payment punctuality, any damages caused to the property, and if they followed the terms of the lease.
  • Employment Verification:
    • Verify the tenant’s employment status and income. This helps ensure they have a stable source of income to cover rent.
  • Credit Check:
    • Obtain the tenant’s permission to conduct a credit check. This will give you insight into their financial responsibility and history of paying bills on time.
  • Criminal Background Check:
    • Conduct a criminal background check to ensure the tenant does not have a history of serious criminal offenses. Be aware of fair housing laws and ensure your screening criteria are legal and non-discriminatory.
  • Contact Personal References:
    • Request personal references to gain additional insights into the tenant’s character and reliability.
  • Set Clear Rental Criteria:
    • Establish clear and consistent rental criteria that all applicants must meet. This can include minimum income requirements, credit score thresholds, and rental history standards.
  • Consider a Co-Signer or Guarantor:
    • If a potential tenant falls short in meeting your criteria, you may consider allowing a co-signer or guarantor to be responsible for the lease in case of non-payment.
  • Meet with the Tenant:
    • Schedule a meeting with the prospective tenant to discuss the terms of the lease, answer any questions they may have, and get a sense of their personality and communication style.
  • Document Everything:
    • Keep detailed records of the tenant screening process, including the application, references, and any communication. This can be crucial if any legal issues arise.
  • Comply with Fair Housing Laws:
    • Ensure that your tenant screening process complies with fair housing laws. Avoid discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or familial status.

By following these steps, you can make informed decisions when selecting tenants and reduce the risk of potential issues during the lease term. Keep in mind that local laws and regulations may vary, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the specific rules in your area.