An essential component of Temecula property management is finding a good resident. Many landlords are enticed by someone who presents themselves well and waves a wad of cash, ready to move in now to the rental house. Oftentimes these applicants may also be claiming that they possess a great rental history, superb references, and a great paying job. As such, what is wrong with taking their money and allowing them to move in? A lot. In the steps outlined in this article are a few reasons why you should complete your due diligence with your Temecula tenant applicant review.
Leasing your home without having a prospective resident go through these basic steps can be not only financially, but also civically irresponsible. What if this person is not who they say they are? Even though they may provide the funds for a security deposit and first month’s rent, what if this person does not have the means and responsibility to pay the rent monthly? What if they are a threat to the health/safety/welfare of your rental property’s neighborhood?
Prior to accepting resident applications, you should spend time exploring credit and background check companies to find one that suits your needs. Credit and background checks will often cost about $25 per applicant. After you have found a company to run credit and criminal background checks, see whether the company also has a tenant application that you can use. Another option is to hunt for free landlord forms on the internet. As people arrive to view your rental home, and then show interest in renting from you, make sure that you have a rental application available for them to complete. Additionally, do all of the following:
- Verify their identity by examining their state ID with the information that they provided on the application
- Verify their income with recent paycheck stubs, or bank statements, etc.
- Determine every resident who will be living in the home
- Determine whether any pets will be at the home (if applicable), and if so, what is the weight, color and breed
Once the tenant has returned the application to you both filled out and signed, this allows you to process or send to the credit and criminal reporting agency. Send the application out and then wait for it to come back, a process that will typically take about one to three days. As the tenant’s application is being processed, check on their employment (if applicable) reference. Call the applicant’s employer and ask whether the applicant is indeed an employee there. Listen for how the employer reference answers the phone to ensure that it actually is an organization, not merely a friend of the applicants. For example, a typical business/organization will answer professionally, and not with a simple “Hello?”
The next stage in your Temecula tenant applicant review is to connect with the past landlord and personal references that the applicant has provided. If a prospective renter is being evicted, the current landlord most likely cannot or will not provide negative information to you. This is why it is crucial for you to to obtain 2 to 3 past landlord references. Once you have connected with a past landlord reference, ask the following questions:
- Did the tenant complete the terms of the lease?
- Did the tenant ever pay the rent late? And if yes, how often?
- Was the tenant evicted or asked to leave?
- Would the landlord rent to this tenant again?
You should not accept family members or friends as rental references. You should plan to spend around half an hour per applicant in checking references.
After you have received and reviewed the credit and criminal background, and have decided that the prospective resident is a good risk, then you must also take the rest of your findings to build a picture of the people who have applied to lease your home. If everything comes together, and the applicant appears to be someone you want to take care of your property for the next one to two years, inform them that they have been approved, and set a move-in day.
Yet, if you don’t think it’s a good match, and you decide not to have the applicant lease your home, then you need to let the applicant know you will not be renting to them at this time. The best path is to phone, and then follow up with written correspondence (email is fine) detailing the reason for not accepting the application, such as: “We will not be extending an invitation to lease based on your credit findings.” If your reason for not renting to them is based on credit, then the credit reporting agency will give you the credit bureau name/address, which you can then provide to the applicant to obtain a copy of their report at no cost.
Here are some other common reasons for not accepting a tenant’s application:
- Not enough rental history
- Evictions, collections
- Criminal conviction, drug manufacture
Doing your due diligence in finding a quality and qualified resident is time/money well spent to help ensure a quality relationship for you and your renter in the future.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.