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4 Tips for Effective Tenant Verification

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Whether you like it or not, in most cases being a long term income property investor means being a landlord.  As such, you will need to find tenants to live in your rental units.  And the most critical aspect of finding good tenants is tenant verification (also known as tenant screening).

Tenant verification is important because the quality of your tenants will dramatically impact your workload and stress level.  Good tenants will turn your property into a passive investment, whereas horrible tenants that are habitually late on their rental payments will turn your investment business into a part time job.  Therefore, it’s crucial to get this part right.  As such, there are 4 key verification “checkpoints” that you will want to cover whenever you are evaluating prospective tenants.

First and foremost, you’ll want to run a criminal background & prior eviction check.  You certainly do not want someone living in your apartment who has a checkered past, because unfortunately more times than not, history has a way of repeating itself.

Second, always conduct a credit check.  You want to make sure the tenant is financially responsible.  Now, this is not as easy as it used to be because there are regulations in place designed to prevent frivolous credit checking.  However, as long as you are willing to deal with some paperwork and an onsite inspection, you can become authorized to pull credit reports.

Third, always verify income & employment so you can make sure the tenant can afford the apartment.  Your rental application should ask for the contact information of the employer.  Call the employer and verify all the information around salary and job tenure that was conveyed on the application.

Fourth, always call the tenant’s current / previous landlord.  This is critical because you want to make sure the tenant will pay on time and will not destroy your property.  If the previous landlord had problems with the tenant, walk away.

Following this simple tenant verification / tenant screening framework will allow you to weed out 99% of the bad apples…before they move into your property!  Good luck!

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