Property management is what we do and we have learned that tenant screening, or what some might call a tenant background check, is a crucial step in the process of filling rental vacancies. Truthfully, it’s our number one tool in preventing bad tenants.
Tenant screening prevents losses of ROI (Return On Investment) due to problems like tenant damage, late rent payments, or rent that isn’t paid at all.
Our leasing department a proprietary system of ranking responses to a questionnaire. It’s part of the privilege of having our services, but I can still show you what some of our screening criteria are and why our leasing department is worth it’s weight in gold, your gold.
Incomplete Rental Applications
An incomplete application is literally the first thing on the list. (1), a sloppy or incomplete application can lead to the tenant leaving and owing up to $3,500.
Let’s say that you rent a unit for $1,000 a month. That means that with the average loss of $3500 for something as basic as an incomplete rental application once a year, you just lost twenty nine percent of your annual gross income. If you look at it as a loss of annual net income, it’s all gone.
Potential tenants that are unwilling to fill out the rental application completely or legibly, likely have something to hide and whatever that is, you won’t want to deal with it and you don’t want it in your rental. It could be bad eviction history, a criminal record, or any number of other problems you don’t need.
People make errors, but we don’t accept applications that have omissions that the prospective tenant is unwilling to correct.
We look at the length of residency, meaning how long tenants have kept the same address. Because a rental turnover can cost up to $2,500, depending on the time of year, renters that tend to stay longer are money in the bank. A happy tenant in a well managed single family property, will stay in a single family rental for three years and for as long as six years.(2) Assuming an inexpensive turnover of a property at $500 annually, that’s a savings of $1500 over 3 years. It’s worth it to us to check a prospective tenant’s length of residency to assure lower costs and consistent income from your properties.
Rent Payment History
An obvious criteria is rent payment history. If a tenant doesn’t pay they’re of no benefit. Everyone wants a tenant that pays on time every month. Chasing down rents interrupts consistent cashflow and if it’s necessary to evict a tenant because of failure to pay it can be a costly, long term proposition.
Transunion claims that 84% of landlords find that payments are their biggest worry (3) and with good reason. An eviction can cost $3500. The costs involved include; legal fees, court costs, unpaid rent, property turnover costs, and damage to the property.
Another kick in the shins is that when its all over you stand less than a 20% chance of getting anything that you’re owed.
By scrutinizing the history of rent payments, we maintain your consistent earnings from your investment without consideration or involvement from you.
Condition of the Last Property at Move Out
No one wants to rent to someone who will abuse a property, but how does a landlord find out what condition a prospective tenant left other properties in?
The only person who can tell you if a prospective tenant took care of the property they are currently in, or one they previously occupied, is the person managing that property. It’s no problem. Simply call up the last landlord and validate that the tenant takes care of the rentals they occupy.
That’d be true if the contact information you have for previous landlords is correct. Picking up the phone and calling the number on the rental application could connect you with a buddy, a relative, or the piece de reistance, a paid agency that creates entire false backgrounds for people. I searched Google for false rental reference services and found 5 in the first two pages.
With our services in place this isn’t a problem for you as a passive investor in real estate. Our leasing department has people on staff that specialize in keeping these aggravations from becoming your problem.
Proof of Income
At some point on the application, we ask for proof that the prospective tenant meets our guidelines for income to rent ratio and that they have been in their line of work for a sufficient period of time.
As a general rule of thumb, a three to one net income to rent ratio is desirable or the rent shouldn’t exceed 30% of their net income.
We ask for pay stubs, an employer contact, a bank statement or the like, and our leasing department validates any proof put in front of them. This is another benefit of Jacobgrant’s services.
Just like landlord references, proof of income can be faked. It’s more the norm that people are emailed their check stubs so they print the hardcopies themselves if they have a print copy at all. What’s to stop them from modifying any of these documents with Photoshop and then passing them on?
Jacobgrant uses a process of cross references to assure that your rental income stream is protected.
Tenant Credit Check
We do a credit check on every prospective tenant. We look at the credit score, payment history, and non-medical delinquent payments. Ranking these factors is part of the service that we provide to get solid, long term, tenants in your investment properties.
Again, because of our experience we know what to look for, what prospective tenants to place in your properties, and which ones to let others have that are willing to tolerate the problems associated with lower quality tenants.
Tenant Criminal Background Check
This is basic. If a prospective tenant files and application within 5 years of release from imprisonment for a felony conviction they will be denied from renting from us. If the felony is for a violent act, a sex crime, or for distribution or manufacture of drugs the applicant will be denied services regardless of circumstance.
What’s the Endgame of Tenant Screening?
It’s a mean world out there and people will do whatever it takes to stay indoors. Do you really have time to deal with their problems and deceptions? Dealing with little nuggets like unqualified tenants and false applications that steal your time are what make our property management services attractive. Instead of wondering if you’re being taken for a ride by a prospective tenant, you could be doing whatever it is that makes your life worthwhile.
Tenant screening is the beginning of what we do when we manage your properties and create consistent income without your involvement. Imagine what it would be like to have a service that provided you income without your direct input from an investment that supplies income regardless of economic conditions.
This is what Jacobgrant means when we say; “We Work, You Profit.”
1) Bill Gray – Rental Application Mistakes Eat Profits https://www.american-apartment-owners-association.org/property-management/collections/rental-application-mistakes-eat-profits/ 2010
2) In Single-Family Rental Housing, the Tenant is King https://www.nreionline.com/single-family-housing/single-family-rental-housing-tenant-king Mar 23, 2015 accessed 05/26/2020
3) Andrea Collatz, The True Cost of an Eviction https://www.mysmartmove.com/SmartMove/blog/true-cost-eviction.page Nov 2, 2018 accessed 05/26/2020
4) Allison Rebecca Penn 7 Ways to Spot Fake Landlord References https://www.allpropertymanagement.com/blog/post/ways-to-spot-fake-landlord-references/ 04/09/19 accessed 05/26/20