When it comes to choosing tenants carefully, remember that when you get the leased signed, collect the first month’s rent and deposit, you basically turn over your property to what may be a stranger, and you lose some of the control you have over your property. So it is best to do your due diligence before you get a prospective resident to sign a lease.
If you have signed up with a Rental Property Owners Association, you can check on the applicant to see if there is a local history of evictions. Have each prospective resident make out a Rental Application form. You can obtain these through many available legal document software programs. I personally have used Family Lawyer@ for many years for this purpose. Then run a simple credit check. You can either “eat” the cost of this yourself or put a fee in to cover this report into your rental application form. I have used www.youcheckcredit.com for many years and you can get a tenant screening for about $9.95 and on up, dependant on what you desire.
Then also show due diligence by checking out references from previous landlords, confirm employment, and be cautious. I had a resident move out and left me a trashed and damaged apartment. The future landlord called me for a reference, and I was honest to the point of being blunt that this was a bad tenant, yet he rented to them anyway. On the other side, don’t always just rely on the current landlord a prospective tenant may have. They may give you a glowing reference just to get rid of a lousy occupant. So go back farther in your checking to other landlords in the past.
Don’t be afraid to inspect the place where they live presently. Check its condition, and how they keep it up. That will be a good indication of how they will care for your property.
CASH, MONEY ORDER or Certified Check!
One landlord recalled that he had a sudden vacancy and he put out the FOR RENT sign. Two gals in a newer Mercedes Benz pulled up, saw the apartment and wanted it right away; in fact they would give him a check immediately for the first month’s rent and deposit. He didn’t do a credit check and guess what happened? The Check BOUNCED! Now he had to work to get them evicted without any money in his pocket. So follow the rule: CASH, BANK MONEY ORDER or BANK CERTIFIED CHECK or no keys or lease!! That’s my rule that I follow implicitly.
Yes I will take checks in the future but the first big one is GUARANTEED!
LAST BIT OF ADVICE
Never get in a rush to rent it out. Yes you probably have payments to make and now utilities to care for, but a bad tenant can cost you THOUSANDS in the long run. Work to get a good resident for your unit and then hopefully you can retain them for many years.