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How to Review your Tenant Applications Like a Pro

A crucial part of Troy property management is finding a good tenant. Many property owners are wowed by an applicant who presents themselves well and is carrying a pile of cash ready to move in to your rental house and treat like their own. They often assure you that they have a solid rental history, good references, and good paying jobs. Is it wrong to take their money and let them move right in?  Yes. In the steps below are a few reasons why following up with due diligence in Troy tenant applicant review is an absolute must at this key point.

Renting your home without your prospective resident going through this basic step can not only be financially, but also civically irresponsible.  How do you know whether this applicant is who they claim to be? Do they actually have the ability and responsibility to pay the rent to you on time and consistently? Could they be a threat to the health, safety and welfare of your rental property’s neighborhood?

Before you start your Troy tenant applicant review, you should first research credit and background check companies to find a good fit for your needs. Credit and background checks often will cost your around $25 per applicant. Once you do have a company to run credit and criminal background checks, check whether the company has an application for you to use. You can also search for free landlord forms online.  As potential tenants arrive to view your Troy rental home and show an interest in renting, ensure that you have a rental application on hand. You should also do all of the following: 1) Verify identity by referencing their state ID with the information on the application. 2) Verify income with recent paycheck stubs or bank statements, etc. 3) Identify any residents who will be living in your rental home. 4) Identify any pets (if applicable) with weight/color/breed.

Having an application filled out and signed allows you to process or send to the credit and criminal reporting agency. Send it out and wait for the response, which often will take around 24 to 72 hours. As you wait for the application to be processed, check the applicant’s employment (if applicable) reference. Contact the applicant’s employer and verify that the tenant is, in fact, employed with the organization. Check how the “employer” answers the phone to ensure that it really is an organization, and not just one of the applicant’s buddies. For example, organizations will answer the phone professionally, not with a simple “Hello”.

Your next step in Troy tenant applicant review is to contact the applicant’s past landlord and personal references.  If a prospective renter is being evicted, the current landlord most likely cannot or will not provide negative information.  As such, this is why it’s important to receive two to three past landlord references from an applicant. Be sure to ask each landlord reference the following questions: 1) Did the tenant fulfill the lease terms? 2) Were they late on paying rent, and if so, how often? 3) Were they evicted or asked to leave? 4) Would the landlord rent to them again?

A key point is that you should not consider an applicant’s family members or friends rental references.  Checking references should take about 30 minutes per applicant.

After you have viewed the applicant’s credit and criminal background, and you have determined that the applicant is a good risk, then you must also take the rest of your findings to create a picture of the people who have applied to rent your home. If it all comes together, and the prospective renter looks like someone you wish to live in your property for the next year or two, then you can inform them that they have been approved. You can then determine a move in date.

On the other hand, if it’s not a good fit, and you decide not to have the person rent your home, then you need to inform the applicant that you will not be leasing to them at this point. The best way to do this is to phone them, and then follow up with written correspondence (email is OK) stating the reason that you are not accepting the application, such as: “We will not be extending an invitation to lease due to your credit findings.” If your reason for not renting to them is credit, then the credit reporting agency will provide you the name and address of the credit bureau that you can then provide to the applicant to obtain a copy of their report at no charge.

Some other common reasons for rejecting an application include insufficient rental history, evictions/collections, criminal conviction, and drug manufacture. Completing due diligence in finding a quality and qualified tenant is time and money well spent, and a key part of Troy property management. This process also helps to ensure a solid relationship for you and your tenant in the future.

Want to learn more about our Troy property management services? Please contact us for more information.

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