Finding a good tenant is an important job for a property manager because it determines how profitable an apartment rental is and how well it will be looked after. The person selected for the property needs to be responsible enough to care for the property and pay the rent on time without bothering others in the building. The most effective way of finding someone who will be a good tenant is by eliminating those from the applicant list that distinguish themselves as 'bad' renters. Cutting those that will pose difficulties makes the process faster, cuts down on the number of needed repairs and expenses, and maximizes the profit from each unit.
Characteristics Of The Applicant
When meeting a prospective renter, the property manager will examine the behavior and attitude of those applying to rent the property. If he or she appears uneasy or anxious, there may be hidden issues to be concerned about. Individuals with difficult attitudes also make poor choices because they may be difficult to work with if there is a situation between tenants in the apartment rental or difficulty in collecting rent money. The expert performs criminal checks as well. An old speeding ticket wouldn't raise any warning flags, but outstanding warrants for murder for instance will make him or her think twice.
The property manager will ensure that each person being considered for the apartment rental is who he says he is. The information provided is often entered into various systems to see if there have been any reports or grievances filed that may indicate they are a poor choice. Personal references are another important aspect of tenant screening. This will provide an idea of what that person is like to deal with and his level of responsibility.
One of the references provided may be from a previous landlord or property agent. This information is used to find out about situations that may have arisen during the previous tenancy, about any complaints filed, and about how well the prior rental was cared for. Lastly, this is a good way to find out if there is still money owed on the old home. The professional may also look at the home himself to see what condition the building was left in.
Credit And Financial Information
Each apartment rental applicant should provide the property manager with financial information and permission for a credit check. This reveals the potential tenant's level of responsibility when it comes to paying his bills. What shouldn't be on a credit report are entries involving consistent problems paying debts or failing to pay the money owed all together. These items make it more likely that rent will be late or missed completely, causing the owner to lose the income from the unit. Real estate rental experts may also ask to view a series of utility bills from the previous property to see if they are paid on time.
Lastly, employment is an important in distinguishing a good choice in tenants from the bad. The person applying for the unit needs to prove that he or she has a steady income. It also needs to be high enough to cover the monthly costs.
From here, a property manager needs to consider several other things when searching for a good applicant. These generally come from the way the person answers questions as well as the questions asked. Asking about loud parties or demonstrating an inability to come up with enough for the security deposit are not what the rental professional wants to see. The process of screening possible tenants for an apartment rental is a big task, but the time and caution used at the start can prevent a large amount of profit loss and legal troubles later on.
Christine O'Kelly is an author for Beal Properties, an expert in apartment rental and tenant screening. Beal Properties in Chicago has more than 80 years of property manager experience in the city's neighborhoods along Lake Michigan.