When you're screening tenants for your Dallas/Fort Worth rental property, you're going to check credit and criminal histories, verify employment and income and talk to landlord references. As your going through your process, you want to pay attention to any red flags that may catch your attention. The tenants may have an explanation for these issues, but trust the data and facts. Emotional responses have no place in the tenant screening process.
If a tenant has an eviction from 25 years ago, and a recent record of excellent rental experiences, you're probably fine. However, an eviction from the last 5 or 10 years may be cause for concern. It's a good idea to check national eviction records so you know for sure that your applicant has never been removed from a property for lack of payment or other lease violations. Tenants often have multiple opportunites to solve the problem- eviction is almost always the last resort. So, if their rental history reveals that they got to that point recently, you may want to reconsider renting to them.
Maybe there aren't any evictions on the applicant's record, but a credit check reveals they owe $4,000 to an apartment community. That is a huge red flag. It means they probably didn't pay rent for an extended period of time or they left an extensive amount of property damage after moving out. Ask the applicant for an explanation, if you find they have an acceptable you may just want to collect a larger deposit to cover your risk. Some landlords require that outstanding debt to be paid before allowing the applicant to move in.
Talking to current and former landlords is an excellent way to see how a tenant has behaved in the past. If your applicant doesn't provide contact information, doesn't give you permission to contact former landlords or, tries to give you the phone number of a friend or family member- you should pay attention. Former and current landlords can tell you if rent was paid on time, if any property damage was left behind after move out and, if there were pets and whether or not they were well behaved. When a tenant does not want you talking to former landlords it's a huge red flag.
You definitely want to make sure your tenant can afford the rent before you approve their application. When you ask how much they earn on their application, ask for verifiable documentation. This can be a paystub or you can ask their employer for salary information. If your applicants refuse to provide this information, it's definitely a problem. If they are retired or self-employed you can ask for bank statements or tax returns. Demonstrating income should not be a problem for qualified tenants.
These are just a few of the red flags that may show up during your tenant screening process. If you need help finding a great tenant or have any questions about property management in Dallas/ Fort Worthplease Contact Us at Perpetual Property Management, we'd love to be your resource!