Without a doubt, finding the right tenant is the single most important decision you will make in your journey as a rental property owner. A great tenant can mean the difference between your property being maintained and rent being paid on time to overdue rent, lawsuits, or even permanent damage to your unit.
Many owners select tenants using their gut feeling and then fail to screen them completely, which can open the owner up to risks that are easily avoidable. The key to finding a great tenant in San Diego is to get to know them as well as you can and having a structured verification process.
Thoroughly Vet Applicants
Many property owners believe that “getting a feel” for tenants in person is the best way to select the perfect renter. It’s important to remember that the most likeable person you meet may not be the most qualified.
Lacking a formal process for picking the most qualified tenant can also put you at risk of violating fair housing regulations by creating a perception of racial, gender, or religious bias. Lawsuits regarding fair housing can be extremely costly and time-consuming. While having a friendly tenant is never a bad thing, it is important to always research each potential tenant’s background and financial history thoroughly before making any decisions.
Do Your Homework
When researching a tenant’s history, you will want to make sure you don’t skip any steps. Cutting corners when it comes to researching your tenant can be a very costly mistake. You’re not only checking to make sure that your tenant has a history of paying bills on time, but you’re also checking references to make sure that past landlords have had positive experiences with your tenant.
Below are some easy steps to follow to thoroughly vet all applicants:
- Call each reference. Many owners will only call one or two people from the list, but you could be leaving valuable information undiscovered, particularly when it comes to calling former landlords.
- Run a credit report and go through it in detail. Having less than perfect credit is not an automatic disqualification, but reviewing credit reports is an important step is to see how the tenant addresses any issues that arise. Do they proactively address and explain their situation? Or do they attempt to hide any potential issues? These are important indications of your tenant’s ability to shoulder responsibility.
- Always do a background check. Credit reports and landlord references don’t paint a complete picture and I’ve even heard of owners who only found out that their tenants have criminal histories when applicants for other units search the sex offender registry for the area. Although a potential tenant may be required to notify you if they are a sex offender, other relevant crimes such as burglary or assault don’t carry the same reporting requirements. It’s your responsibility to run a background check to ensuring that your new tenant will not cause unwelcome disturbances in the community.
Get Professional Help
Screening tenants can be time intensive, stressful, and tedious work. Remember that it is important that you follow the same process with every applicant and have clearly defined rental criteria that your tenant must meet. If you need help screening tenants and keeping your process consistent, MV Properties is here to help with our proven tenant screening process. If you want to enjoy the benefits of being a rental property owner without the stress, contact us today at 888-686-1525. Ask a question be emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and visit our website to learn more about our process.
Keegan McNamara is the founder of MV Properties, a leading San Diego property management company offering the highest level of service in property management, maintenance and leasing. His goal is to cultivate long-lasting relationships with his clients (property owners) and their tenants to provide an enjoyable leasing experience. Keegan holds a Masters in Business Administration from the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego and is a Principal at McNamara Ventures, a real estate development and investment company focused on residential and mixed-use properties.