Today we’re talking about the best way to screen tenants so you can avoid eviction. When you have a thorough screening process in place, you’re less likely to get bad tenants who will ultimately need to be evicted.

Each adult who is 18 or older and applying to live in your residence needs to be screened. The application needs to include eight items:

  • Employment History

  • Income

  • Credit References

  • Social Security Number

  • Driver’s License Number

  • Evictions

  • Past Rental History

If you have these eight items, your screening procedures are in good shape.

Once you have the information gathered on an application, we recommend you hire a screening agency to analyze the reports, especially the background and criminal checks. It’s a good investment because these are all time consuming processes and you want to have complete information.

The credit report will tell you what you can expect in terms of rental payments. Credit history can often tell you whether they will pay as agreed or if they will be slow to pay or if they are likely not to pay at all. Background reports are important because they will tell you about civil lawsuits. Criminal reports will reflect whether the tenant has been in trouble with the law.

You have to verify income in order to establish how much rent the applicant can afford. Ask for financial statements, pay stubs or canceled checks. If the tenant doesn’t have any documentation, call the HR department at their place of employment to find out what they earn. Best practices tell us that tenants should spend no more than a third of their income on rent. So, if you rent a home for $1,000 a month, you’re looking for a tenant who earns at least $3,000 per month.

Calling landlord references is the best way to determine a tenant’s overall rental worthiness. You can ask former landlords if the tenant paid rent on time and received their entire security deposit back. Always ask if the landlord would rent to that tenant again. This is an excellent practice that you can do yourself.

Finally, make sure you’re consistent with your process of approval or disapproval. You must abide by fair housing laws and stay current on any state and local landlord tenant laws.

If you have any questions, please contact us at Russell Properties, and we’d be happy to tell you more about how good screening can help you avoid evictions.