Why First-Time Rental Property Owners Must Use Tenant Screening

August 01, 2023 | By Charleston Property Company
Happy family moving into a home, property management services concept

Becoming a rental property owner can be an exciting venture. However, with great potential for rental income comes substantial responsibilities. 

One of the most critical tasks of turning your home into a rental is finding a trustworthy tenant who can turn your property into a profitable source of income rather than a costly liability. This is where tenant screening comes into play! 

What does this involve? Before you allow anyone to move into your former home as a renter, keep reading to learn why screening tenants is crucial and how to do it!

The Risks of Not Being Selective

The decision to turn your home into a rental is significant, but deciding who gets to live in it is equally crucial. While the prospect of immediate income from placing a tenant quickly might tempt you to rent to the first interested party, bear in mind that not being selective can lead to costly issues down the line.

You may think about renting to friends or family to simplify the process, but this can also be problematic if they don't meet your criteria or are not trustworthy. Less-than-ideal tenants can cause substantial property damage, fall behind on rent payments, or violate the lease in other ways. Sometimes, these tenants can be hard to evict, leading to prolonged, stressful, and costly legal battles.Property managers reviewing applications as part of the tenant screening process

How to Find and Place Good Tenants

The question then arises, "How do you find reliable tenants who will treat your former home with respect, pay rent on time, and adhere to the lease agreement?" 

The answer is tenant screening! Follow these steps to evaluate and select trustworthy renters that follow the rules, pay rent on time, and give you peace of mind. 

1. Establish Your Tenant Criteria

First, it's important to establish clear tenant criteria. This could include their employment status, income level, credit history, and more. 

It's also vital to publicize these criteria to enable a fair application and selection process and attract the right candidates who meet these requirements.

2. Develop a Comprehensive Application

Once you've defined your ideal tenant, create a comprehensive and legal application form to gather all the necessary information. This will form the foundation of your tenant screening process. 

The application should include fields for employment history, income details, previous addresses, and personal and professional references.

3. Conduct Thorough Research

Use the information provided in the application to conduct a comprehensive background check. 

This should process include: 

This research will give you a clearer picture of the applicant and their suitability as a tenant. You'll also be able to spot red flags that indicate an applicant isn't the right fit for your property, whether they have a low credit score or a history of not paying rent on time. 

4. Ensure a Fair Assessment of Each Prospective Tenant

If you receive multiple applications from several possible tenants, conducting the same screening process for every applicant is essential. This ensures a fair assessment and helps you adhere to the Fair Housing laws, preventing any discrimination claims.

Before starting your screening process, make sure you understand those laws and how to choose a tenant fairly. Rental property owners cannot discriminate based on several factors, including race, gender, religion, or familial status. 

5. Choose Your Tenant

After going through your screening process with each applicant, choose the best renter for your new rental home! The ideal tenant meets your criteria and has a verifiable history of being a good renter. 

Then, help your new resident understand the lease agreement and move into your home. You don't need to physically help them move their stuff! However, providing a move-in checklist and confirming a move-in date can help them feel welcome and get off to a good start as your tenant. 

The best property manager Charleston, SC, offers gives keys to new tenantsLeverage Professional Property Management Services

While it's possible (and crucial) to carry out tenant screening as a new property owner, it's a time-consuming process that requires knowledge of local laws and regulations. This is where the expertise of a property management company can be a big help as you get used to being a landlord — not just a homeowner. 

The best property manager Charleston, SC, offers has the experience, skills, and established processes to find and screen tenants swiftly and efficiently. Our team at Charleston Property Company is equipped to conduct comprehensive tenant screenings and place only the highest quality renters in your property.

However, professional property management services go beyond just tenant screening. A property management company handles all aspects of managing your home as a rental property, from marketing it and managing leases to handling maintenance issues and resolving tenant disputes. 

These comprehensive services ensure you can enjoy peace of mind, focusing on the rewards of your investment while we handle the day-to-day details.

Experience Peace of Mind With the Best Property Manager Charleston, SC, Offers

Turning your home into a rental property is an excellent opportunity to generate passive income. However, it's a task that requires time, patience, and due diligence to ensure that you place a tenant who respects your property and meets their obligations consistently. By conducting thorough tenant screening or by partnering with a seasoned property management company, you can secure a successful and stress-free experience as a landlord.

Charleston Property Company is here to support you every step of the way! We help first-time rental property owners find renters that pay rent on time and take care of their former homes. 

For more information about our services and how we can assist you in becoming a successful landlord, don't hesitate to contact us. With our experience and guidance, you can look forward to a profitable and worry-free rental property experience.

We hope you'll also request a free copy of our resource for homeowners, "The Benefits of Being a Rental Property Owner!"

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