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Why You Should Screen All Prospective Tenants  

January 26, 2023

As a landlord or property manager, it’s important to screen all prospective tenants. By doing so, you can help ensure that your property is safe and well-maintained. There are several ways to screen tenants, and each method has its benefits. Here are just a few reasons why screening tenants is so important:  


Can They Properly Care for The Rental?  

When a tenant damages a rental, it can be costly and delay other tenants from moving in. Screening tenants is an essential part of being a property owner or manager. Knowing who will be living on your property and the risks associated with it are key to mitigating this responsibility. A thorough background check can alert you to any potential issues with a tenant, such as past evictions or criminal records that might suggest their reliability as a tenant. Establishing expectations and defining the laws of living on the property are also very important steps, helping to outline the duty of care expected by both parties. Ultimately, screening tenants gives you an informed picture of who is best fit to live in your rental property, ensuring that you have peace of mind while they live there. 


Are They Responsible? 

Screening tenants is important to ensure you have reliable, responsible individuals living on your property. To do this effectively, it’s essential to use a combination of criminal background checks, rental history reports, and credit reports. A criminal background check will provide information on any menacing behaviors or illegal activities that could be a threat to other tenants on the property. A rental history report helps landlords understand the kind of tenant they are dealing with – whether they pay rent on time or if they’ve had disruptive behavior in their previous rentals. Lastly, gaining access to an individual’s credit report allows landlords to see if the tenant is financially responsible enough to handle paying rent each month. By assessing all three sources of data you can feel assured that you’ve chosen responsible and reliable tenants for your property.  


Can They Provide a Security Deposit?  

Requiring a security deposit from tenants is an important practice for any landlord. It serves as a safeguard should something go wrong during the duration of their lease, such as unpaid rent or property damage. By asking for a security deposit up-front, landlords can avoid the risk of significant financial losses due to tenant negligence. What’s more, having the security deposit in hand helps make tenants accountable for what they owe and keeps up their commitment to you as a landlord. After all, if they know there’s money at stake, it will encourage them to adhere to their issued lease agreement and continue paying the rent on time. Requiring a security deposit is good practice for all landlords – it offers protection from potential financial liabilities and serves as an incentive for tenants to stay engaged in their contractual obligations with you.  


What to Do With a “Bad” Tenant 

Sometimes, landlords have to deal with “bad” tenants who may be late on rent payments, treat the property disrespectfully, or cause other problems. No matter how frustrating this can be, it is important for landlords to stay composed and handle the situation diplomatically. Landlords and property management should first communicate directly with the tenant about their concerns to try to resolve them. If this does not work, there may be legal options available that landlords can pursue to address tenancy issues like unpaid rent and lease violations. Ultimately, being a respectful and effective communicator is key to resolving tenant disputes as soon as possible while preserving the relationship between landlord and tenant.  


How to Avoid Problems with Tenants 

As a landlord or property manager, it’s important to be mindful of who you rent property to. By making sure that you thoroughly vet potential tenants, you can avoid problem tenants who are more likely to be evasive on rent payments, cause damages, and violate the terms of their lease agreement. Doing thorough background checks including credit checks is key to finding reliable and trustworthy renters. Asking for references from previous landlords or employers and conducting face-to-face interviews can also help get an understanding of the tenant’s character. Keep in mind that those with good credit scores and steady employment history are usually better risks to take than those without these credentials. With these tips, you can create a foundation for a positive rental experience!  


For the best property management experience in Middle Tennessee, look no further than MMC. With a wide range of services including an in-house maintenance team, thorough resident screening, and access to licensed real estate agents, MMC can help you grow your business while freeing you up to pursue your passions. Call today!