Tenant screening is one of the most critical things you can do as a landlord or a property manager. Finding the right tenant will have a major impact on your experience owning a rental property. Make sure your screening and application process is consistent, thorough, and compliant with all state, local, and federal fair housing laws.
A good tenant is financially stable, and able to pay rent on time every month. Generally, we look for someone who earns at least 2.5 or 3 times the monthly rent. Always verify the income that your potential tenants claim they earn. You can ask for pay stubs, bank statements, or tax records.
Checking credit will give you an idea about how tenants manage their money, and whether they are responsible with bill payments. An ideal tenant will have a credit score of 650 or higher. If someone has bad credit but earns a good income and has great rental references, you can still approve that tenant, but make adjustments to your rent or your security deposit based on what the credit report tells you. Check for prior evictions, too, using a tenant history service.
A reliable rental history is important before you approve a tenant to move into your home. Ask for the names and contact numbers of at least two former landlords or property managers. Verify that you're talking to the right person; sometimes applicants who have something to hide will give you the phone numbers of their family members or friends. Know who you're talking to and ask some questions that will tell you what kind of tenant this person is. Did they pay rent on time? Was there any property damage? Was the entire security deposit returned? Did they have pets? Were the terms of the lease followed?
Always meet the applicants in person so you know who you are renting to. You'll want to confirm that their identification corresponds to the information you get back on credit and background checks. If you have any questions about how to properly screen tenants or anything pertaining to property management in San Jose, please contact us at Zell Associates, Inc.