When you're filling a vacancy, certain risks must be taken. Evictions and late payments can be incredibly costly and inconvenient for everyone involved. If you're hoping to minimize the amounts of risk you take on when moving in a new tenant, it makes sense to screen applicants as thoroughly as possible. Taking a look through a person's job history, rental history and their ability to pay their bills on time isn't just smart, it's necessary. Cal Bay Property Management's Scott Safadi recommends using a tenant screening service or thoroughly investigating their background in-house.
This process begins when a prospective tenant applies for a vacant unit in your community. Consider requesting an application fee, a credit check and a pay stub when someone shows interest. Checking applicant ID cards and employment verification are also great ideas. If an applicant is unable to provide any of these items, you may want to consider denying their application. Without a complete picture of a tenant's background, you take on considerable risk.
With a person's pay stub, you can learn a lot about their income and hourly wages. The easiest way to verify that someone is employed and able to pay rent, you can quickly discern whether or not this prospective tenant can actually afford the apartment that they are interested in. Got a self-employed tenant who doesn't have pay stubs to show off? Ask for their quarterly tax statement instead. You'll be able to better understand how much they generally bring home and whether or not they can afford your place.
If you're handling an applicant who has just been hired on and hasn't started their new job yet, consider asking for other forms of proof of payment. An offer letter from an employer will do. If you're still concerned about someone's ability to pay but are eager to fill the vacancy, consider asking for a larger security deposit. If your tenant can't pay the rent, this larger deposit will help offset the costs associated with their vacancy.
No matter how you decide to verify a person's employment and ability to pay rent, doing so can help you find the very best fit for your vacancy!
- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management
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