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Chicago Property Management Blog

6 Common Tenant Screening Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

6 Common Tenant Screening Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

The National Multifamily Housing Council reports that 44.1 million households in America are renters.

If you have a property you wish to rent, there are many potential tenants you could choose, but you don’t want just anyone. You want a tenant who keeps the property nice, who obeys the law, and who will pay on time.

To choose the right tenant, you won’t want to make these tenant screen mistakes.

1. Not Reading a Credit Report

Background checks for tenants must include a credit check too. If you are spending the time and money to have a potential tenant complete a rental application form, it is to protect you. You want to avoid accepting a tenant that has a history of nonpayment because the likelihood that you will need to evict them is significant enough to choose another tenant.

However, this means that you must read the credit report. Many times, a credit history will condense the information and tie it to one number. However, you should not judge on the credit score number alone, but on the person’s circumstances.

For example, the credit number could be low because the tenant has one enormous debt, but they pay all their bills on time. That is really what you want, someone to pay you on time.

2. Not Screening Co-Applicants

If you have over one adult moving in, screen all the adults, not just the person completing the rental application form. Background checks for tenants must be for anyone living on the property because if you do not screen everyone, you could have some big issues later.

When co-applicants move in and they are contributing to the rent, what would happen if they were to move out or stop paying the rent? Will the other party be able to keep up with their commitment, or would it leave them in the lurch?

Further, married applicants could have adult children. It is important to learn if they have a criminal history, as you do not want illegal activities taking place on your property.

3. Checking Bank Statements

During the tenant screening process, you want to not only know if the renter has good credit but get a sense of their spending habits.

What do they prioritize with their money? How often do they like to eat out? When is their payday?

They could lie to you about their salary, and you do not want to be caught by a fraudster.

4. Not Complying With Housing Laws

Be careful with asking tenant interview questions. There are both federal and local laws you will need to abide by. Know the law.

You cannot discriminate against a potential tenant. Fair housing laws protect people from potential landlords discriminating against them because of their religion, marital status, race, gender identity, and more. If you do not abide by such laws, there are legal ramifications for this.

5. Employment History

For an applicant to be a reliable rent payer, they will need a stable job. Does the potential tenant have a secure job? Discover how long they have been at their job because if it is a new job, use caution with choosing this tenant.

6. Not Using a Good Tenant Screening Software

The decision you make will only be as good as the facts you collect. Make sure you are working with the best tenant screening software so that you have the information to make the right decision.

Tenant Screen Mistakes

GC Realty & Development, LLC, will help you avoid these tenant screen mistakes. Get the value you pay for a property management company. The natural choice in Chicago and the surrounding areas, you won’t pay a fee during a vacancy, making your life stress free!

Contact GC Realty & Development, LLC today.