One of the biggest mistakes that new landlords in Scottsdale make when renting out their property is renting it too quickly. No one likes the idea of having a unit that sits vacant because it can be a financial stressor. However, it is generally better to have a vacant unit than to have a unit occupied by a terrible tenant. The problems that a bad tenant can cause are vastly more destructive than waiting a few more weeks to find a qualified tenant. How can you know you are choosing the right candidate for the property though? You need to screen them thoroughly. Without a proper tenant screening, you really have no idea what type of trouble could come your way.
All Contenders Need to Fill Out an ApplicationYou can’t even begin screening unless you have a rental application for your property. Make sure that the applicants fill everything out completely and that they provide you with references for employers as well as former residences. They also need to sign a waiver that allows you to check their credit report and to check their references. If they refuse to fill out the application, simply exclude that candidate from your list.
Checking Social MediaMany employers in Scottsdale use social media to learn a bit more about the people they are considering hiring. They want to know more about what type of person the candidate is and whether they seem responsible, or if they would be a black eye on the company. A number of landlords are doing this as well. If the items they find on the social networking sites indicate that the person has loud parties every weekend, talks bad about their current landlord, or has pictures of a trashed home, then chances are you will not want them to be your new tenants.
Checking the Criminal RecordsKeep in mind that old crimes and small crimes may not be enough to warrant you from excluding someone from your property. However, you do want to know what the criminal background of your potential tenants is, so make sure you have a criminal check performed. If they are in and out of jail regularly, you have to wonder how they will be able to make enough money to pay their rent on time. Check for a history of selling drugs, violent crimes, and more. You want to be sure you aren’t renting to someone who could be a threat to you or their neighbors, and who will be selling drugs out of your house.
Explain the Rules of the LeaseNo one should ever sign a lease without understanding what they are signing. Make sure you go over the lease with the prospective tenant and let them know what everything means. If you do not want them to have pets, put it in the lease. Make sure that they list the names of everyone who is over 18 and will be living on the property as well. You should also make sure that they know when the rent is due, as well as the penalties for paying late. If they do not agree with items on the lease, you have the option of revisiting the document and making changes if you like. However, do not capitulate to what the tenant wants just so you can get someone into the unit.
Use a Property Management CompanyThe process of screening tenants can be a tedious one, and it is not likely something you want to handle on your own. Consider working with a Scottsdale property manager for some help with screening, as well as the rest of your landlord duties.