There are good tenants, and there are bad tenants. It would help if you looked at certain factors that will give you a better chance of choosing the right tenant. Following these six tips can help you make the best choice
Choosing the Right Tenant
1. Follow the Law The Balance Small Business tells us, “Landlords must treat all prospective tenants equally. There is a law known as the Federal Fair Housing Act, designed to prevent discrimination against certain classes of people in any activity related to housing. In short, you cannot discriminate based on:
- Race or color
- National origin
- Families with children
In addition, Delaware has its own Fair Housing Rules that you must follow, so make sure you know and adhere to your local laws as well.
2. You want to look for a tenant who is financially responsible. Checking for good credit is a two-step process.
A. Verify Income:
- Ideally, you will want to find a tenant whose monthly income is at least three times the monthly rent.
- Ask for copies of their pay stubs
- Call their employer directly to confirm their employment, length of employment, attendance record, and monthly earnings.
B. Run a Credit Check:
- Do they have a history of paying their bills on time?
- Check their income to debt ratio.
- Look for prior evictions, civil judgments against, or bankruptcies.
3. Check on Their Criminal Background. Criminal information is public, and you can view the records at the courthouse. This check will turn up both serious and minor offenses. A thorough Criminal Check Will Include a Federal Court Record Search
- A Statewide Criminal Record Search
- A County Criminal Court Search
- A Department of Corrections Offender Search
- Sexual Offender Database Search
4. Look at the Tenant’s Rental History. Questions You Should Ask:
- Did the tenant pay their rent on time?
- What was the reason for the move? Was the tenant evicted for non-payment of rent or for breaking the landlord’s rules?
- Did the tenant give 30 days’ notice before moving?
- How did they keep their apartment? Were they clean?
- Did they cause any damage to the apartment other than normal wear and tear?
- Were they respectful of their neighbors?
- Did they complain often?
5. Maximum of Two People Per Bedroom
The more people per apartment, the more noise, and you will experience more wear and tear on your investment. A maximum of two people per bedroom is considered reasonable under the Fair Housing Act.
6.Trust Your Instincts
You can do all the screening in the world, but sometimes your instincts are the best judge of character.
Is There Some Way to Automate This Screening Process?
Glad you asked. WorryFreeTenant (WFT) is a tenant screening service that allows landlords to screen and connect with prospective tenants while managing their properties from one easy to use dashboard. Owned by Delaware Realty Management, WFT provides landlords with thorough tenant screenings that include:
- Personal details (name, age, phone, etc.)
- Income (with pay stubs)
- Credit check with a credit score
- Criminal and civil records
- Eviction history
- Sex offender list
- Terrorist watch list
- Address history
- Employment history
- Driver’s license
- All tenant information is provided in one report so you can easily keep track of everything.
Are You a Prospective Tenant?
For those looking for a place to rent, Let Worry Free Tenant (WFT) ease your struggles. Our tenant screening process is easy. You pay only $40 once and share your rental application with any landlord. WFT allows you to fill out your application and upload all of your documents just one time. Once your report is complete, you can automatically share the information with all WFT landlords you connected to your search and any other landlords you invite to WFT. Your report is active for 60 days.
A Word About People affected By Evictions
Starting January 1, 2021, some 11 to 19 million renters may find themselves evicted because of COVID 19 and the loss of their jobs. The stories of renters are heartbreaking. You will have to use your intuition more than ever to choose renters that will be good tenants after this COVID crisis is over.
Delaware Realty Management LLC
2700 Kirkwood Highway
Newark, DE 19711