Whether you’re renting out an in-law suite or an entire condominium building, it is in your best interest to thoroughly screen your tenants before renting to them. A bad tenant can lead to any number of horror stories, from costly property damages to expensive evictions and everything in between.
While your willingness to trust your intuition is commendable, sometimes it simply isn’t advisable to take on good faith that everyone is going to pay their rent on time and keep your property in tiptop shape. That’s where free tenant screening can, and does, come in. If you engage in a vetting process and ensure you only rent to trustworthy tenants, you will save yourself a great deal of hassle down the road.
1. It puts your entire neighborhood at risk
Not only can a bothersome tenant make your life a hassle, they can reflect poorly on your whole neighborhood. As a property owner, you are expected to contribute to the overall good of the community and ensure that you only rent to upstanding citizens. Some neighborhoods are choosier than others when it comes to the type of person who moves in, but it goes without saying that every person likes to feel secure and safe in their own surroundings. We are social beings by nature, and the disruption of a community can lead to hostile interpersonal conflicts that might not occur otherwise.
Don’t forget that the risks of renting without a thorough screening can be more than simply irritating. They can actually be dangerous. If a tenant’s criminal history is not screened properly, for instance, you may accidentally allow a convict to reside comfortably next to a family of small children. Neighbors will be forced to take extra care to ensure their car doors are locked, their windows are barred, and their families are safe.
2. It’s surprisingly easy
One of the major excuses landlords give for not screening tenants is because it extends the rental process, meaning that properties are left vacant for longer than need be. Many landlords, particularly those who rely on renting out their properties for their full-time income, like the comfort of knowing their property is not sitting unoccupied for weeks or months at a time. Why waste time being selective, you might ask, and miss out on potential passive income?
Fortunately, free tenant screening software has never been more accessible or easier to use. Tenants who apply using free rental applications online show their willingness to reveal all of their credit history, income, references, and other crucial information. You will be able to locate trustworthy, reliable tenants within moments. Since it costs you nothing and provides you with the security and peace of mind you need to know you’re renting to responsible individuals, there is no reason not to use it.
3. You can make predictions
Although people can appear different on paper than in real life, credit and employment history does provide certain clues that are valuable to a landlord. Based on the information tenants provide through their rental application, you can easily get a picture of what kind of person they are. If there are significant gaps in their employment history, for example, you can assess the risk of them being out of work again in the future. Certain landlords view an unstable job history as a dealbreaker.
Credit history is a bit more complicated. While some tenants may have racked up a significant amount of debt, they might otherwise have a clean criminal record, solid verifiable references, and a steady history of employment. In either case, if a tenant applies using a rental application, you know they have undergone a credit check via a service like Credit Sesame, and their credit score is up to date.