Advice for New Landlords: How to Screen for the Right Tenants

Landlord Insurance in CAThere different types of tenants. There’s the type that will help you realize that you made the right decision to be a landlord, and there’s also the type that will make you scratch your head and think, “What was I thinking?”

Choosing the right tenant is important if you would like to make the most of your investment. Here are some tips from Insurance by Castle on how you can do this.

Follow the rules

The Federal Fair Housing Rules are important guidelines. They help prevent discrimination based on color or race, nation of origin, sex, religion, disability, or familial status. You should also make sure to follow any local housing guidelines.

Check the applicant’s credit

How responsible they are with their bills will tell you how responsible they are with rent. To find out more, ask your applicant for pay stubs. Call their employer to verify that they are indeed still employed there. Check their credit and see if they pay bills on time. Ideally, a tenant should earn three times their rent, but if they have too much debt, this should still raise a red flag. Check if they’ve ever filed for bankruptcy or been evicted before.

Run a criminal background check

There are databases and court records that you can search, so you need your applicant’s real name and date of birth. Ask for a copy of a valid ID. Criminal records are public, so there should be no problem in finding out if they’ve ever been arrested or convicted for anything serious. You can’t reject a tenant for his speeding tickets in California, but you can if they have a record of violence or drug use. Whatever the case, make sure you have landlord insurance in CA before you start accepting tenants.

Unless you have the time and the means to do all the checking, you should hire an agency that does tenant screenings. Criminal background checks and credit history are their specialty, but you have to be ready to absorb the fees.