Taking the time to properly screen and gain full knowledge of a potential tenant will save you time, money and many headaches when managing your community. Avoid troublesome and unreliable renters by following these 5 steps and maintain the success of your property:

1. Determine requirements

Set and state your renter standards clearly before starting the screening process. It’s important to always make sure your criteria follows Fair Housing laws and any local laws in your property’s location. Some requirements to consider include income, landlord and employment references, evictions, credit history, and criminal history. Pet and smoking policies should also be disclosed in the listing so tenants know what to expect.

2. Conduct a brief phone interview

After a tenant expresses interest in renting within your property, ask the important questions over a quick phone call to ensure there are no major red flags that may make this renter the wrong fit. Start off by asking why and when they want to move and make sure they agree to any applications, references and background or credit checks you require. See if the potential tenant plans to have roommates or pets and is aware of any other policies within the property. This will give you a better feel of the renter before going any further in the screening process.

3. Provide and collect an application

The next step is for the tenant to officially apply and provide identifying information in writing. This should include employment status and history, proof of income, financial standing, number of roommates or pets, residence history and personal references. Steer clear of any potential tenants who leave any fields blank or provide false information on the application to avoid choosing troublesome renters.

4. Run a full screening

It’s a good idea to run formal tenant screening to authenticate renters information and unearth any potential red flags. This screening can include a credit report, eviction report, and criminal background check. Do your research and make sure you are following any local or federal Fair Housing laws, as well as the regulations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

5. Reach out to references

After combing through all the other information this step can feel tedious and unnecessary, but it is worth it in the long run. Prior landlords or bosses can provide valuable insight on potential renters’ reliability and habits that may have gone unnoticed in the application process. Taking the time to hop on a quick phone call can make all the difference in solidifying your decision of accepting or denying an application.