Finding the Right Tenant for Your Rental Property

Posted by Matthew Lahti on Wednesday, September 4th, 2013 at 8:29pm

If you own rental property, your ideal tenant follows the rules you've set out for your property and pays what's due on time. You try to screen for good renters by having applicants fill out forms but those leave several questions unanswered. And the privacy laws of Washington State prevent you from delving too deeply into their personal lives. Fortunately, you still have some avenues to explore in investigating prospective renters.

  • Credit check. Arguably the most important report you can obtain on tenants, a credit check reveals their employment, financial history, and how they deal with money management. Do they have any bankruptcies or foreclosures? Do they pay their bills on time and carry no balances on their charge cards? Or have they applied for a flurry of loans to move into your property? The credit check lets you predict future payment behavior based on financial history.
  • Background check. Are you concerned that your tenants deal drugs on the side, have violent tendencies, or like to destroy the property they live in? You can find out about their criminal past through a background investigation. However, don't be lulled into thinking that someone with a spotless past may automatically be a good tenant. Landlords may just not have reported someone to the police in exchange for him leaving their property immediately.
  • Virtual check. You spend nothing to look at your tenant's online activity. With the help of an Internet search on his name, or a peek at his Facebook page, you can find out things about him he would never reveal on a form. For example, do his social pages show drunken revelries at his current home, or does he prefer to play chess in his spare time? Does a Google Search reveal that he's won awards for his purebred dachshund when the lease specifically prohibits pets?

You could undergo the hassle of undergoing these investigations for each of your tenants. Or you could spare yourself time and trouble by having our property management services do it for you. Contact us to see how we can help with your rentals.


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