how to vet tenants
Click here for Top Ten Discussions. CLICK HERE for Q & A Homepage
Receive Free Rental Owner Updates Email:  
MrLandlord Q & A
how to vet tenants (by frank [NY]) Jun 21, 2022 8:29 AM
       how to vet tenants (by Vee [OH]) Jun 21, 2022 8:57 AM
       how to vet tenants (by plenty [MO]) Jun 21, 2022 9:06 AM
       how to vet tenants (by MC [PA]) Jun 21, 2022 9:15 AM
       how to vet tenants (by Bonanza [NC]) Jun 21, 2022 9:31 AM
       how to vet tenants (by S i d [MO]) Jun 21, 2022 10:06 AM
       how to vet tenants (by David [MI]) Jun 21, 2022 10:47 AM
       how to vet tenants (by David [MI]) Jun 21, 2022 10:50 AM
       how to vet tenants (by Hoosier [IN]) Jun 21, 2022 2:08 PM
       how to vet tenants (by Small potatoes [NY]) Jun 21, 2022 10:37 PM
       how to vet tenants (by Frank [NY]) Jun 22, 2022 8:28 AM
       how to vet tenants (by small potatoes [NY]) Jun 22, 2022 9:22 AM

Click here to reply to this discussion.
Click Here to send this discussion to a friend

how to vet tenants (by frank [NY]) Posted on: Jun 21, 2022 8:29 AM

I have a vacancy and from Zillow I have gotten many responses, what to do with them? What now to ask for, I live far away from this property so I am going to have to put a key box and let people use that to see the unit.

But what if a prospect wants it, We have a application for them to fill out.,but how else do you check them out ? I will do a credit check, but as far as calling the last LL I find that these days few will say much, if at all, saying they no longer give references good or bad..

What do you do as the next step to weed out looky looks and people that have little chance of moving in?

Also can you require a pet fee for service or emotional support anamals?

how to vet tenants (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: Jun 21, 2022 8:57 AM

I would suggest moving closer to the unit, 10 minutes away is a good boundary, or sell. It seems like you need to research state and local tenant rules - please do this before opening for business as it is very costly to have tenants lawyers training you how to operate, find a landlord group and participate in meetings with questions for at least 3-4 months before purchasing a 4-rent sign.

how to vet tenants (by plenty [MO]) Posted on: Jun 21, 2022 9:06 AM

most of the inquiries are junk. I would respond to each with a few questions something like: Share with me your housing needs and moving dates. Pet? Smoker/vapor? Those that respond I would read. Otherwise i send no more emails. Then i would set up one day when I was could be at the property and set up appointments every 15 minutes, i would do this in teh late afternoon so those that work during the day can get a time slot and those that are only available in the evening could also get into see the house. It's important to me to meet those who have potential. you? If the moving dates don't match then i would tell them to check back closer to their moving dates. The day before the scheduled appointments, i would update my ad to read Open house from on that day at those times, so others may decided to come by. I would charge a small fee for the application and not collect the credit report funds until they are so qualified on paper from the low cost application. They are paying for the paper, i charge $10 a person for this application, two people $20, this will pay for your gas and time. FOR the emotional pet situation, just tell them to include the paperwork you have with the application. They can scan in the information and get it to you electronically, via email for review. This may streamline the process for you, but i'm sure there are better ways, i would put the house on a lock box but not give the code to anyone who wants to view the home without you being there as in my area and in these times that may encourage squatters and that is a day changer for me! I may approve an application and get the move in fund and on moving day give those folks the key code then swing by after about two weeks, to see how they are settling in, do a walk thru and answer questions, show them where the water shuts of are and stuff like that, then get my keybox.

how to vet tenants (by MC [PA]) Posted on: Jun 21, 2022 9:15 AM

If it is too far to manage, hire it out. A buddy, a company, something. You should run a criminal check as well. I want to meet my people, it is a helpful indicator. I would not mention ESA-see what happens. Most are now ESA because people think they won't have to pay for them. Most, not all, are a bunch of BS. Know your laws on this.

how to vet tenants (by Bonanza [NC]) Posted on: Jun 21, 2022 9:31 AM

While it won't help you now, I'd suggest you attend Jeffrey's boot camp. It will give you all those answers.

conviently the next one is coming up in July.

Your immediate problem is sounds bigger than you can handle because you don't sound like you have the systems in place to vet the tenant and make a decision.

so my advice would be hire a property manager to screen the tenant and spend the time to learn how to do it yourself.

If you think I am wrong then. When looking at the application, I'd evaluate it by looking at:

is the application legible and complete, does the copy of the drivers license address match the application, is there proof of income and does it meet the 3x net threshold, is there proof of previous rental payments, did they pay for the credit check, do they have sufficient money in savings or checking for emergencies

Is there any negative indicators on facebook, your state's offender search, your state's sex offender search, or any court cases with the defendants name

I find that most of the time, I can get ahold of the previous LL - ask the usual questions, did they pay rent on time, any late payments, any damage, any pets, did you have to evict, was any of the security deposit withheld?

Call all the personal references, talk to their mom, dad, sister, friends - did they smoke, do they have pets, are they responsible, would you loan them a $1000 and would they pay you back?

Call their employer - will they likely remain employeed, what is their current salary, describe their work ethic

Eval the credit report per your criteria - FICO score limitations, limit on the # of negative accounts, limit on trade totals, what collection items do you see, etc

More financial analysis - do they have a stable rent hx, are they paying a comparible amount in rent, is their job stabile,

What are you disqualifying factors and do they have any? smoking, insuffient funds in reserve, irregular employment, bad LL review, uncooperative, failed home inspection, drug manufactoring history, or what ever

did any of that help you?

how to vet tenants (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Jun 21, 2022 10:06 AM

First, decide what you want your standard tenant to look like. I want a tenant who will always:

1) Pay in full, on time.

2) Keep the property in decent condition.

3) Obey the law.

4) Be a good neighbor.

Pretty simple, don't you think? But it's amazing at what some folks consider "normal"....anyway. Here's how I find that.

1) Credit check - look at the info on the report, not just the score. Are bills paid on time? Does the ID match? Find any addresses they "forgot" to include on their application? Any fraud alerts?

2) Background check - I DQ convicted violent felons and sex offenders on the spot. I don't care about the "reason". My reputation will be sunk the minute neighbors find out who I let into the place. Also, folks with more than one eviction or a pattern of trouble with the law (i.e. 5 or more misdemeanors in the past 3 years) are no-Go. If they're getting cause for that many "small" issues, just think what they AREN'T getting caught for.

3) Current and Past LL reference. Current land lords lie to get rid of bad tenants, but I still want to hear if the current land lord says anything negative. Past land lords have no incentives to lie. I find most will talk to me once I establish a rapport with them.

4) Employer / Income verification. I have always needed to see a MINIMUM of 3x the rent income, plus recently I have also looked for at least $500 per adult. So for a rent of $800, 2 adults, I'd need $2400 (3x the rent), and after subtracting rent and bills on credit report and an estimate for utilities, transportation and groceries I need to still see $1000 per month available cash. That's MINIMUM, and of course I see what their monthly payments are via credit report. If they're so maxed out they can't scrounge up $500 per adult, it's trouble waiting to happen. I only rent to folks with garnisheable income: if things go badly I want to be able to collect. So any judgement proof income, vouchers, etc do not count toward the total. Your state may forbid this criteria in an effort to make things "fair" but legislators do not understand that folks who DON'T have to pay often WON'T pay. If that's your state, you should always demand the maximum security deposit allowed and consider even doing L/O (lease with option to purchase) so you can charge a lease/option fee that will get around the state maximum rental deposit laws. Then you can refund the option fee at your discretion and have added protection.

5) The 2-minute in home inspection. The final step before full application approval. This is done only after everything else has checked out and is positive. I make the appointment for me (or my rep) to stop by the house they CURRENTLY live at and look, listen, and smell. The reason is simple: whatever their current place looks, sounds, and smells like is what my place will after 4-6 weeks. I have saved myself from several folks who "looked good on paper" but were hoarders, house destroyer, had 3 pit bulls, etc. Often, you know the minute you drive up and don't even have to go inside. You can see the broken miniblinds, the dog feces covering the yard, the non-working car parked on the grass, etc. It literally takes no more than 2 minutes. Too far to drive? Hire a local realtor for $50 to drop by. Pay thru Venmo/PayPal. There's always a new starving agent fresh out of Realtor class trying to make a few bucks to eat. Or maybe a teenager of a family you were friends with who live nearby and just needs a few bucks. Do find excuses NOT to do it; find ways TO do it. It's simple, easy, and tells you more than any other step. I cannot recommend this step enough.

I will also check social media if I have any suspicions at all, but it's gotten harder to find folks. Sometimes I'll offer them $5 off the app fee if they'll "Like" our business page. Bingo, found 'em!


how to vet tenants (by David [MI]) Posted on: Jun 21, 2022 10:47 AM

Eviction reports may not be complete, this is especially true for MI. So do your own court record search. If your state does not have a unified court system, you'll have to search individual courts. You can narrow it down based on their addresses on the application and credit report.

In addition to evictions and collections, also look at any misdemeanors that might not get reported on criminal record. DUIs, A&B, DV, trespass , etc.

how to vet tenants (by David [MI]) Posted on: Jun 21, 2022 10:50 AM

The modern american justice system revolves around plea bargains. The prosecutors will offer a reduced plea so to avoid the time and expense of a trial. This means the actual crime they committed is likely worse than the actual misdemeanor.

DV might be pled down to disorderly conduct. shoplifting might be pled down to a lower dollar amount. MI has a lower category of DUI that is often used for pleas.

how to vet tenants (by Hoosier [IN]) Posted on: Jun 21, 2022 2:08 PM

Does your ad have tons of photos? if so, then maybe don't allow them to walk through until they are "pre-approved".

Hire a property manager in the area.

Credit report, full application, background check, in-home visit, and tons more. Recommend Jeffrey's boot camp.

how to vet tenants (by Small potatoes [NY]) Posted on: Jun 21, 2022 10:37 PM

Frank, don't sign a lease until you understand way more than it appears by your statement. you should spend a day searching this forum for posts about NY. in NY you cannot charge more than 1 month rent for security which meabdms no pet fees. apication fees cap at 20 bucks which would include any fee for credit check.

perhaps you can tell us more about how you came to having an apartment for rent.

how to vet tenants (by Frank [NY]) Posted on: Jun 22, 2022 8:28 AM

Thank you everyone,..this has been VERY helpful!

how to vet tenants (by small potatoes [NY]) Posted on: Jun 22, 2022 9:22 AM

BTW in NY you cannot look at evictions, If you are found to have looked at an eviction and don't take the applicant (even if you give another reason) you face heavy fines. Realistically it might be hard for someone to prove you looked at eviction, but lets say you ask them about it and they say yes I've been evicted (but it wasn't my fault!). Don't go there.

Click Here to send this discussion to a friend
Report discussion to Webmaster

Subject: RE: how to vet tenants
Your Name:
Your State:

how to vet tenants
Would you like to be notified via email when somebody replies to this thread?
If so, you must include your valid email address here. Do not add your address more than once per thread/subject. By entering your email address here, you agree to receive notification from every time anyone replies to "this" thread. You will receive response notifications for up to one week following the original post. Your email address will not be visible to readers.
Email Address: