Opening the doors of your house to someone and trusting them with a place under your name is a huge deal and requires a lot of thought and research. You can never be 100% sure about how good or bad a person would be as a tenant but there are a few things you should look out for. One law you need to remember and abide by is that you need to provide all those who are interested with an equal opportunity and not discriminate within them based on their class, caste, race, sex, etc.
Before questioning anybody else you need to question your own needs and wants, remember what is acceptable to you and what is not. What are you looking for in your tenant? When you answer these questions, you are halfway there, already!
Your screening process must be inclusive of:
1. Police Verification
Getting the tenant’s identity verified should be the very first step. You need to make sure that they are not hesitant during this process and are okay with sharing their information with you.
2. Criminal Background Check
Running a criminal background check is of utmost importance. You need to know what your tenant's past was like, and the roots of the person you are renting your house to.
3. A Good Reference
Talking to the prior landlord and getting to know their experience with the tenant can help you make a better decision. It would tell you a lot about their living habits and personality.
4. Good Credit
As the saying goes, "Precaution is better than cure", it is important to make sure that your potential tenant pays their bills responsibly and verifying their income would be a good and safe move.
5. Rental History
To know the applicant’s rental history is to know if they pay their bills on time, if they caused any damage to their prior rental apartment and if they are a respectful and understanding neighbour.
The key is to make sure your tenant is stable. Stability in terms of houses (not frequently moving) and income is equally important and less suspicious.
7. Trust Your Gut
Screening is a good way to go but sometimes, someone appears better on paper than they are in person. You need to trust your instinct and even if the best of the applicants seem a little off to you, you should let them go.
Now that you are much more aware of what your checklist and criteria should be like, don't forget to list down the things that you would have an objection with. A few red flags you should not avoid and look out for are:
1. Denying background check
2. Disrespectful behaviour
3. Incomplete rental application and secretive behaviour
4. Suspicious isolation
It is not an easy procedure but it is one worth following. One thing you need to keep in mind while interviewing your tenant is that good rent is not as important as a good tenant.
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