Screening your tenants before renting to them is one of the best ways to protect yourself as a landlord. You can learn a lot of information through this process that can bring to light issues that could make the person a bad tenant.
Money Crashers explains that you always want to conduct a tenant interview, but before you do that, you should take a few other steps. Start with collecting an application that gathers important information about your tenant, including financial information.
Conduct a background check
It is helpful to run a background check that will look into the person’s criminal history. An isolated incident or something that happened years ago may not be a cause for alarm, but a habitual issue is worth noting. You do not want to bring a criminal element into your rental unit for your safety and the safety of your other tenants.
The background check can also alert you to any current legal troubles. You will want to note civil cases against the person or anything specifically related to rental properties as these signal a potential for trouble.
Check his or her credit
A credit check allows you to get an idea of the financial responsibility of the person. If you see a lot of debt or collections, this could indicate a tenant who may not pay his or her rent in a timely manner. You may want to pass to avoid future collection issues.
Reach out to contacts
It is also a good idea to check the applicant’s contacts. Contact his or her employer to find out if he or she does have steady employment. You also should contact his or her previous landlord. You can gain some helpful information from these two contacts that will help you assess the applicant.