When renting out property – be it commercial or residential – landlords are encouraged to conduct a thorough screening of all prospective tenants. The reasoning for this is simple: tenants can cost you thousands of dollars in property damage, lost rental fees, and court costs. Learn more about how to ensure you have done your due diligence on a potential tenant for your property, and discover how a seasoned real estate attorney can help protect your real estate business.
The Pre-Screening Process
There are many ways to conduct a tenant screening, but most landlords find a two-step process preferable, which starts with a pre-screening, and it typically includes questions like:
- Why are you moving?
- Can you meet the income requirements?
- Do you have pets?
- When do you want to move in?
- Will anyone else be living/doing business with you?
- Are you willing to undergo a background and credit check?
- Can you provide me with past rental references?
With these few questions, landlords are often able to filter out tenants who might be problematic. Some may even remove themselves from the pool of tenants because they are uncomfortable with the questions or cannot answer them satisfactorily. At the very least, these questions allow the landlord to focus their efforts on the tenants who seem to be the “best fit” for their property or situation.
Digging Deeper Into a Prospective Tenant’s Rental History
Although it may be possible to screen out problematic tenants with the pre-screening questions, one should never rely solely on this phase of the screening process. There are “professional tenants” that know how to difficult it can be to evict someone. Able to make themselves sound like model tenants, these seemingly charming and charismatic people often have a slew of evictions on their record. Alternatively, they may not have active employment and may, instead, offer you invalid employer information to get themselves into your property. Avoid such issues by ensuring you always conduct a criminal background check, credit check, and a rental history check. Also, always verify employment and call a prospective tenant’s references before moving forward with a lease.
Adding Another Layer of Protection to Your Real Estate Business
Although many landlords choose to handle tenant matters on their own, savvy business owners recognize that it is often best to delegate some of your more taxing or complex duties, such as screening tenants or fighting a problematic tenant in court. It is here where the aid and assistance of a seasoned real estate attorney can become valuable.
With over 40 years of experience, Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC can add yet another layer of protection to your real estate business. Able to assist you in developing a clear and concise rental agreement, and capable of aggressively representing you in court if a tenant defaults, our DuPage County real estate lawyers make your financial future our top priority. Learn more about how we can assist you in growing and protecting your portfolio by scheduling a personalized consultation. Call 630-655-2500 today.