Thursday, June 17, 2010


Pre-Screening Tenants

In this tight economy now is the time to make your screening process harder not easier. One of the quickest ways to ruin the landlord experience is to take in a bad tenant. It can be very expensive and time consuming to evict a tenant, so just avoid it at all costs. You may feel desperate at some point when you have had a vacant apartment for a while. I recommend that you find a neutral third party and have them review the application to make sure you are not wearing blinders.
It is always best to be clear about what the pre-screening process is and how long it will take. Make sure you implement the process the same for everyone. It is not a good idea to only run the credit for some tenants but not all. Don't check only one person on the national sexual offenders and criminal date base because he looks creepy. Or if you suddenly feel like you really have to run someone through a new process make sure that that becomes a new policy for all of your future tenants. This is the best way to avoid being accused of discrimination.
Also understand that professional dead-beat tenants exist and they are usually very charming and in a big hurry. I am always suspicious of a tenant that has to move so quickly that they do not have time for my pre-screening process. If they are in such a hurry throw it back at them. Tell them to get you the information faster. If a previous landlord is not returning your calls tell your future tenant to call the landlord and encourage them to respond quickly. If they were a good tenant the landlord will do that.
No information is often worse than bad information. Everyone is afraid of litigation these days so if a landlord referral does not want to talk to you that is a bad sign. They don't want to be forced to say anything bad so they are going to say nothing. Avoid tenants that can not supply references.

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