Regardless if you are a Broker tasked with managing a client's rental home or you are an owner managing your own rental, there is one major priority essential for success - Screening!
If prospective tenants are screened appropriately with due diligence,Â deceptive tenant disclosures can be discovered and long term problems can be avoided.Â Never, never, never accept a tenant based on the fact "they looked honest" or "they just lostÂ their social security card."Â If you rent to the wrong type of person (a felon,Â aÂ criminal, a sex offender, a drug dealer, etc.) or someone that just cannot afford the rent, the results are costly and problematic.Â
When a criminal element enters the home many things can occur: home damages can occur with a criminal that is abusive or violent; drug making can occur in the home; drug dealing can occur from the home; etc.Â AndÂ for a person that cannot pay the rent, the time and effort to go through the eviction process can be lengthy and costly for an owner.Â Though not 100% fullproof, the best defense is screening, screening, screening.
Over the years, I have had someone shake my hand with a smile because the home was a perfect fit to get more space - though an eviction check discovered they were being evicted from their present home.Â I have had someone give me a bad check for their application fee.Â I haveÂ seen an applicant use their fathers social security number (father had same name) to hide their identity. I have seen a home used to manufacture meth.Â I have had prospective tenants lie about their criminal background thinking screening would not discover the truth.Â I have seen rental homes raided by police.Â I have seen almost everything that can be seen in the rental market.
When screening, I recommend a minimum of the following:
1) Application for each adult over 18 for complete background checks
2) Application fee(s) in certified funds
3) Proof of income - at least last 2 pay stubs for each qualifying adult or last 2 tax returns for those claiming self-employment
4) Copy of drivers license or State ID for each adult
5) Copy of social security card for each adult
And with this information, I run social securty checks to find identity thiefs, credit checks, criminal background checks, andÂ eviction checks.Â Based on circumstances and discoveries from the reports, employment and tenancy verification may also be done. With this, the clients can be screened against your rejection criteria.
I never force a prospective tenant to provide anything I request because they do not need to give anything they don't want.....But, I also dont have to rent to them if the application is incomplete.Â If appropriately done, Screening can make renting as easy as just collecting rent.Â
Good Luck to all my Fellow Landlords!
Darrell D. Drouillard
Home Team of America
16719 Huebner, Bldg #4
San Antonio, TX 78248