The Must-Ask Questions in the Tenant Screening ProcessIf you’ve owned investment property for any length of time – or even if you’re at all familiar with how being a landlord works – it’s likely that you have heard stories about just how bad some tenants can be.

Damages to the property, consistently late rent payments (or in some cases, no rent payments at all), and / or liability issues are just some of the risks that rental property owners can face with the wrong tenants.

When getting a property rented (or re-rented) though, you don’t necessarily have to face these bleak scenarios. In fact oftentimes, just by merely spending more time on the screening process, you can end up with the ideal tenants in your property rather than the renters from hell.

There are actually several steps involved in a good, solid process of screening your next tenants. These include the following:

  • Communicating via Phone or Email – When a prospective tenant initially contacts you for additional information, be sure that you ask them some pre-screening questions, such as the amount of their monthly income, why they are moving, and when they hope to move in. It is here that you should also inquire as to whether they would be willing to consent to a background and credit check. Depending on the answer(s) you receive, these questions can be extremely helpful in separating those who may be good tenants, and those who may not quite fit the bill.
  • Showing the Property – Provided that a prospective tenant passes the initial screening questions, showing them the property will allow you to meet with them face to face. In this stage, be sure to look for various “red flags,” such as whether they seem to be in a hurry to move in, whether they show up with a large group, and even their timeliness in meeting you at the allotted time for the showing.
  • Completion of the Rental Application – Should a potential tenant move forward with the application process, you will want to make sure that they provide you with – and that you check – references from prior / current landlords and employers. Once you receive the application, be sure to follow through with a background and a credit check as well.
  • Approving or Declining the Applicant – Even if a potential renter passes the application process, the screening is not complete until the lease is signed. That is because you will want to make sure that they agree to (and then hopefully abide by) the rules and regulations that are set forth in the lease.
  • Signing the Lease – Provided that all is agreed to – and that you have received the security deposit and first month’s rent – you should then be able to move forward more confidently in handing over the keys to your next tenant.

Making sure that you have the right tenant in your rental property can be a time consuming endeavor. But, it can be well worth the added time and effort.

If your goal is to earn a passive income through rental property, but you would rather not spend an inordinate amount of time managing tenants and maintenance issues, it might be time to consider working with an experienced property manager. Doing so can give you back your time, while still owning income producing investments with all of the tax and appreciation benefits that real estate can offer.

Want more information on how hiring a property manager in the Orlando or surrounding Central Florida area can work for you? Give Incentive Property Management a call today.