Tenants who are hoarders…who have unauthorized pets…who smoke in non-smoking buildings…who transport bed bugs. It’s a long list of complaints from frustrated landlords – and much of it could be prevented with proper tenant screening.

Whether you rent out your own suites, or hire a professional property management company to do it, it’s important to ensure that prospective tenants are being screened before you allow them into your building.

Prescreening saves you time

If you prescreen prospective renters on the phone before you meet them, it can eliminate a surprising number of people and save you time.

Give prospective tenants the specifics of your suite to see if it is suitable, and tell them about any special conditions, such as no smoking or no pets. Explain your application process and the documentation they will need to present. Ask them questions such as:

  • Do they currently rent and for how long?
  • Why are they moving out?
  • What date do they want to move into your suite?
  • Have they given proper notice to their current landlord?
  • How many people will be living in the suite?
  • Do they have full-time work? Where do they work? What area?
Landlord checks alert you to possible problems

Obtain the names and phone numbers of their landlords for the past 2 to 3 years so that you can call and confirm the following:

  • How much was their rent, did they pay it on time, did they ever fail to pay?
  • Did they keep their suite in good condition and receive their security deposit when they moved out?
  • Do they have pets or smoke?
  • Why are they moving?
  • Have they given proper one-month notice to vacate?
  • Were there any complaints about the tenant (noise, police attendance, etc.)?
  • Were there any RTB hearings?

During this stage, look for any inconsistencies between what the prospective tenant is telling you and what the landlord is saying.

Employment checks advise you about a tenant’s stability

Call the prospective tenant’s employer and ask the following basic questions:

  • What is their position at the company?
  • How long have they been employed?
  • What is their monthly income? (To verify the income on the application.)
  • What are they like as an employee? Are they responsible?
Credit checks inform you about a tenant’s payment history

A credit bureau check can help you determine whether a tenant is likely to make regular, on-time rent payments. Start by verifying that their personal information is accurate on the application: name, SIN, DOB, current and previous address.

  • Look at their credit score; is it a high or low rating?
  • Look at the rating of each credit history item.
  • Is anything listed in Collections?

If you take the time to perform proper tenant screening, it won’t guarantee you a building full of trouble-free tenants, but it will screen out most of the ones you don’t want. At the very least, it sends the message that you are a professional landlord who takes their property seriously.

Need help finding the right tenants for your building?

At Transpacific Realty Advisors, we work hard to find the right tenants for our clients by thoroughly screening applicants with background checks and interviews. Then we work hard to keep them by developing respectful and responsive working relationships, and operating safe, well-maintained buildings. Interested? Please contact our office at 604-873-8591.

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