It is impossible to overstate the importance of ensuring you have a great tenant renting your property.

a family picture with a golden retriever dog, sitting in the garden, behind their houseHaving a good tenant is the number one thing you can do to ensure you have a positive experience as a landlord. It will not matter how well your lease is written or how great you are at managing and maintaining your property if your tenant turns out to be a disaster. We believe that past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior. This is why background tenant screening is so important when you are considering a tenant. Pay attention to these four things:

Criminal background check

At Hoffman Realty, we run a national criminal background check as well as a sex offender search. This is common sense to ensure you do not rent your property to a convicted murderer, a drug dealer or a sexual predator. In addition to those national searches, we also check the international terrorist database. After 9/11, many of us were shocked to learn that terrorists rented homes in Florida for several years.

Ability to pay

Check all employment records. Verify that your tenants have the jobs that they claim to have, and ask for salary information. Get all of this in writing. If your tenants are self employed, review their tax returns and check their 1099 forms. Verify assets in a bank or brokerage firm if that is how your tenants intend to pay their rent. You want to make sure there is no financial reason for late or missed rent payments.

Landlord references

Talk to the last two landlords and find out how your tenants behaved as renters. Talk to landlords in person rather than accepting a reference letter. Ask if rent was paid on time, if any damage was done to the property and whether they would hesitate to rent to those tenants again.  Conduct a nationwide eviction search and check credit for any landlord debts. This might indicate that there is unpaid rent from the past following this tenant around.

Financial responsibility

In addition to checking the credit score of your potential tenant, look at the entire credit report. This will indicate whether your tenant is able to pay his or her bills. You can also check out any bankruptcy filings. Be careful about renting to someone who is currently in the process of bankruptcy, or looks to be headed in that direction. When this occurs, your rent could be included in the bankruptcy as a debt the tenant cannot pay, and you will have to fight to get that money.

If you are able to find a tenant who can pass these four standards, you have found an ideal tenant. If you have any questions about background screening and ideal tenants, contact us or give us a call at (813) 875-7474.