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Screening to Find the Best Residents for Your Southwest Michigan Investment

Screening to Find the Best Residents for Your Southwest Michigan InvestmentRental property owners have different opinions on a lot of things, but one thing that nearly every landlord can agree on is the profile of an excellent resident. Almost everyone who rents out a home in Southwest Michigan is looking for a tenant who will pay rent on time, take good care of the property, stay in place for the long term, and contribute to a positive, stress-free tenancy.

When you’re looking for the best residents in your local market, you need to know how to screen for them.

Establish a Fair and Consistent Tenant Screening Processes

It’s important that you have a process in place for tenant screening and that you follow it consistently.

When you screen a tenant, you look at their backgrounds and you ensure that all of the information they provided on the application is true and accurate. This is how you decide whether you’ll approve them for tenancy or deny their application. You have to be consistent and treat every application the same, otherwise you can be accused of discrimination.

Good tenants can and must be found while following all fair housing laws. Put your screening process in writing and let your tenants know what you’ll be looking for before they submit an application. Then, you can trust your process.

Good Residents Have Good Credit

A good credit score doesn’t necessarily mean you have a good tenant. But, a credit history that shows a respect for financial responsibilities is a good way to start screening for an outstanding resident. Check for patterns of financial behavior. You don’t want to see any overdue debts to former landlords or apartment communities. You definitely don’t want to see prior evictions. Good residents pay their utility bills on time. You can also use the credit report to verify addresses and residencies. If anything looks strange during the screening process, you can ask your applicant to explain.

Conduct a Criminal Background Check

A nationwide background check and a review of criminal records is also necessary. You want to make sure you’re not placing a tenant who has a history of violent behavior or drug charges. We recommend checking every national database that lists sexual offenders. Make sure your applicants provide permission for you to conduct this check; you’ll need a signature on the application.

Verify Employment and Income

Check employment and verify income. You can call the applicant’s employer and ask about the position that’s held, the length of employment, and salary. You can also ask for documentation from the applicant like pay stubs and tax returns. A great resident will earn enough to meet your income requirements and pay rent on time every month. The industry standard is that your tenant should earn at least three times the monthly rent.

Talk to Former and Current Landlords

Talk to Former and Current LandlordsVerify the applicant’s rental history, and talk to current and former landlords. Find out if rent was paid on time, whether any property damage was left behind, and if the lease terms were followed. Make sure the dates of residency match up to what’s on the application, and ask some questions that verify you’re actually talking to the landlord, and not a friend of the applicant’s.

We have a number of screening tools we use to ensure we’re placing only the best residents in your property. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help with your leasing process, please contact us at Real Property Management Southwest Michigan.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

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