Whether you are experienced in property management or new to it, there are a few things about tenant screening that need to be improved. For new property managers, it takes time to find an effective and solid routine for screening potential tenants and sadly, it can become a process of trials and error that can be extremely frustrating and time consuming. For experienced property managers, there are a number of reasons why tenant screenings fail.

No matter how long or why you are in the business, tenant screening is a make-or-break step that is a part of the process. In this article, you will learn 12 tips for screening potential tenants to avoid any problems or to certainly reduce the changes of their being any problems.

Online Research
Screening tenants has become easy, thanks to modern technology. You can simply do a Google on them or log on to social media to find out what you need to.

Get a Complete Application
Always make sure that every document has been signed by your potential client, including verification documents (background check, employment, credit check, etc.). Ensure that you are protected by adhering to the laws in your state. Request all the required verification documents and ask questions that abide by Fair Housing Laws.

Call Each Reference
Calling every reference provided by a potential tenant is important as it gives you valuable insights. What kind of a person are they? How long have they known the applicant? Ask for a characteristic.

Conduct Criminal Background Checks
Conduct as many checks as possible to make sure that you cover all bases. Include criminal background checks, credit checks, sex offender checks, terrorist checks, bankruptcies and national evictions of each potential tenant. It is OK to profile too. Profiling is human nature and it is the reason humans beings still exist on this planet – well, it is one of the reasons.

Look at Past Rent Checks
You can learn a lot about a potential tenant when you check their cleared rent checks from the past. You can learn how much their current rent is, if they are running late on rent, and who they are making payments to.

Ask them Why they are Moving
Check out the potential tenant’s housing history and find out why they are moving. Do they move every year? If so, do you want a short-term tenant? Did they leave their previous landlord on good terms?

Act Fast
Answer all questions that your potential tenant has quickly and try to provide applications, paperwork, etc. as fast as possible. Ask them to do the same.

Obtain a Driver’s License Copy
It is important to get a positive identification to make sure that identity theft and other malicious actions are not involved. The information can also be used to cross-check social media.

Send Term Verifications
It is important to ensure that the potential tenant fully understands the terms of the rental agreement. To help them and make sure you are covered, send them an email or letter with a summary of all your terms.

Verify Employment
To make sure that your potential tenant is employed and find out more what their employer’s opinion of them is, call to verify their employment.  

Collect Application Fees
You should make sure that you collected your listed application fees and get them processed as quickly as possible.

Ask for Pet Photos
If you have a restriction on breed or weight, ask for pet photos so that you can eliminate applicants who may attempt to break the rules and find out which potential tenants will follow them.

With these tips, you can make sure that you find a tenant that will make timely payments, maintain the property, and stay for a long term.