Top 3 Reasons to Screen Your Potential Tenants
At Whitepages, we believe that landlords should have an affordable tenant screening option.
When you are renting out properties, anything from a large apartment building to a mother-in-law suite in your backyard, ensuring that your tenant will care for the property and pay rent on time is crucial. Initial screening can go a long way in preventing aches and pains down the road and even prevent costly evictions.
Thankfully, we live in a day and age where there is more information than ever available to landlords. This publicly available information can help you avoid the three most common problems a landlord usually encounters: failure to pay rent, unauthorized pets, costly property damage.
1. Can They Pay Rent?
With any rental situation, peace of mind comes with knowing that your tenant can pay their rent in full and on-time. Confronting a tenant for not paying can be stressful for all parties and is a fairly easy problem to avoid.
A renter’s credit check is the first, and foremost, way to assess the financial history of a prospective tenant.
For most services available online, a full credit check can be completed in minutes. Some services, like Whitepages TenantCheck, also offer the option to have the prospective tenant pay for the credit check, therefore simplifying that process.
If you are interested in a little bit different look into someone’s work history, a quick LinkedIn search can offer insight into both their work history and lifestyle. LinkedIn is primarily used by professionals and employment seekers. Seeing how much information a person has to share, in a place they control, can tell you a lot: how dedicated are they to their job, do they jump from job to job, or have they experienced long bouts of unemployment.
2. Do They Have Problem Pets?
Pets! One of our favorite things here at Whitepages, but also one of the more strenuous when dealing with renting a property. Having a beloved pet moving into your rental property can be a pleasant experience. But how do you know if the four-month-old, fluffy, Bernese Mountain dog, Zap, is actually potty trained or won’t be left home alone all day to bark and disturb your other tenants. Or what about Lion, the 3-year-old Ragdoll, is as patient as her owner claims and doesn’t use the doors as scratching posts.
Social media platforms are a great way to get a better picture of the nature of the animal. For even the most private of folks, their Facebook could be overrun with pet photos. Do a quick search for the pet’s name on Instagram, if provided on the application, and see if their owner shares their pet’s life with the world.
3. Is My Property Safe? Are My Other Tenants Safe?
There are a few different ways to assess if the prospective tenant will be respectful of the property and other tenants. Many tenant screening services, including Whitepages TenantCheck, offer an FCRA compliant background check and the option to include an eviction history. In some states, this may also include a criminal history.
References are another good way to evaluate if the tenant meets the criteria that you are looking for. These people, provided by the tenant, can also be validated through Whitepages Premium and social media platforms with a simple Google search.