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Protect Your Condo Investment – Perform A Successful Background Check On Your Tenant

Tenants come in all forms, shapes and sizes and condo Investors need to make sure they are choosing the best tenants possible.  Thankfully there are many steps a condo landlord can take to make sure they choose the right tenant for their investment property.


Here are a few tips that any landlord should consider when screening possible tenants.


  1. Ask questions, questions and more questions.


A landlord should not only ask questions, but also ask them properly, so that there is no confusion about how they should be answered.  When a tenant fills out an application form, they’re providing critical information about themselves and their past.  It is the landlord’s job to make sure that the information provided is accurate.  If anything looks suspicious, it’s in the landlord’s best interest to either not choose that person, or do a lot more questioning and research before making a decision.


Also, all of the information written on an application will not give a landlord the complete picture.  Talking to a potential tenant and creating a relationship on a more personal level will give the landlord a much better understanding of the complete picture.


  1. Talk to the previous landlord


It’s important to get the potential client to talk about their current or previous landlord.  This is a good way to find out how they feel about renting in general, and the respect they have had for any landlord they have dealt with in the past.  If a potential tenant is suing their current landlord or has in the past, it might be wise to pass.


It can also be very difficult to know if the landlord name and phone number is real on a rental application.  In order to verify this information, the landlord should have someone do a land registry check to see who is listed as the landlord on the referred property.


  1. Look for trends that don’t fit.


Many habitual bad tenants are aware of what they need to lie about in order to be approved for a new rental. As a result, the big picture needs to be looked at to determine if it all fits together.  Some things to look for;


  1. If the tenant needs to move into the property right away, then a landlord should proceed with caution. Most people start looking for a new rental at least four weeks before they need one.  A landlord needs to find out what the rush is and why they need the property immediately.
  2. If a potential tenant sounds too good to be true, then they might actually be hiding something.


  1. Use the power of the Internet


Anytime a landlord has a potential tenant that they are thinking about, they should go online and do a thorough Google search.  Any information that the landlord finds can then be used to confirm or question what was written on the rental application.  It’s also a good idea for the landlord to check any pictures that they find online; in order to make sure it is the same as the person they met with.


  1. Find out how long they have currently been renting


It is very easy for a potential tenant to lie about how long they have been renting a specific property.  This should be easy to check if they had the help of a real estate brokerage when they rented the property.  A landlord’s realtor can easily check the MLS system in order to verify the information on other properties rental transitions.


  1. Verify affordability


The landlord needs to be aware of approximately how much the potential tenant makes in order to tell if they can afford to pay the rent.  If the rent is under 40% of the potential tenant’s after tax income, then as a landlord you can feel more comfortable that the rent can be easily paid.  However, it’s also a good idea to ask for recent paystubs to verify income accuracy.


  1. Photo identity verification


Finally, before the final rental papers are signed, it is important to ask for proper photo identification.  If you end up with a tenant that is not actually on the lease, it can be very difficult to get them out of the property.


If a landlord uses these tips, it will greatly improve their chances of finding a solid, reliable long-term tenant.



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