As you prepare your Lakewood Ranch rental home, establish a competitive and profitable rental value, and begin marketing your property, you should be thinking about your ideal tenant. Good tenants have these traits in common: they pay rent on time, they take care of your property, they follow the terms of the lease agreement, and they’re willing to communicate.
When you’re screening the applicants who are eager to rent your property, make sure you know what you’re looking for. Placing well-qualified tenants will lead to more rental income for you and a pleasant rental experience.
Here are some screening tips for finding the best tenants.
Establish Consistent Rental Criteria
Before you begin collecting applications and making decisions on who will be approved and who will be denied, you need to make sure you’re screening in accordance with all fair housing laws. You also have to make sure you’re treating every applicant equally.
The easiest way to do this is by establishing a set of qualifying rental criteria. Put it in writing and provide it to any prospective tenants who are interested in your Lakewood Ranch rental property. This demonstrates what kind of standards need to be met before an applicant can be approved to rent your home. It could include a minimum credit score, minimum income, and at least 10 years without an eviction or a bankruptcy. You can establish standards for criminal history and rental history as well.
You’ll save yourself and your potential renters time when you provide this during the showing or when a tenant asks for an application. If someone knows they won’t be approved, they won’t bother filling out the application and paying the fee.
Check Credit, Financial History, and Income
Perhaps the most important criteria when you’re screening Lakewood Ranch tenants is their ability to pay rent on time every month. It’s extremely important that you measure their income against what you’re charging. Best practices will say that your tenants should earn at least three times the amount of rent you’re charging.
Ask for verification. Applicants should be prepared to provide pay stubs, employment contracts, bank statements, or tax forms to prove what they earn. You can also verify salary, length of employment, and job title with the employer directly.
Credit also counts. While you don’t have to require a specific credit score, you do need to know what to look for when you’re reviewing credit reports. Medical debt and student loans are pretty common, and these things take some time to pay back. However, if you see debt owed to utility companies or former landlords, this should be a red flag. You don’t want to rent to someone who has had trouble keeping the lights on at previous homes.
Background Checks: Eviction, Criminal, and Rental Histories
Spend some time digging into an applicant’s background. Check the national eviction database because sometimes evictions don’t show up on credit reports. Look for any criminal convictions that would put your property or your neighbors in jeopardy. Always check rental history. You want to know that your prospective tenants have performed well in the properties they’ve rented previously.
Finding the best tenants in Lakewood Ranch means taking your time with the screening process. Local property managers like us have access to some great technology and screening resources. If you’d like some help choosing a tenant, contact us at Anchor Down Property Management.