Screening Applicants – The Single Most Important Thing You Should Do!

So you think your a great judgement of people and you don’t need to screen applicants. They said their credit was good. They said they had perfect rental history. They said they have no criminal records. They even said they would pay for a year of rent in advance and…they want to move in tomorrow!  Sounds good, your anxious to get renters in and this would make things really easy for you!


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told this very same thing and been tempted in the very same way. After running the screening however a completely different picture is painted and it suddenly becomes clear nothing they said was true.  On the screening report you see maxed out credit cards, bankruptcies, foreclosures, criminal records, terrible rental history from complaints, late payments or maybe even evictions.

 It’s  important to know ahead of time what your screening criteria is and list it in your advertisement. By doing this your letting people know right up front that you WILL be screening them. Give them the opportunity to disclose anything that may come up on the report ahead of time. This will allow you to deny them before taking their screening fee if they do not meet any of your screening qualifications. Be strict about these requirements and don’t bend your rules!  At the time that you give the rental application also give a copy of the rental requirements that you are seeking. This is your proof that you informed them of the criteria and what they could be denied for.

the screening company that you choose will be able to help you read and understand what comes up on the reports. However, remember that it is confidential information and cannot be shared with anyone. Not even the applicants that were screened. You can inform them that you deny them for whichever reason they don’t qualify or that they were not truthful and did not disclose information that was found, but it is unlawful to talk to them about the details of the report. The best thing to do is to give them the contact information of the screening company and let them handle helping them with any questions they may have regarding their report. The screening company will also send a denial letter if the applicants didn’t meet the requirements for you to pass along to them.

Tenants that meet all the screening requirements are the responsible people you want in your rental property. You will be rewarded by on time rental payments and tenants that care about the condition of the home they choose to live in!  I find that this process is the biggest reason why owners choose to use a management company. Tri County Management, LLC uses a local screening company and has written screening criteria for every applicant. If this task is to daunting for you, give us a call.



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