Landlords in Sarasota, Florida, have the same goal as landlords in other locations across the United States. You all want to earn a steady rental income from your rental properties and spend as little as possible on their maintenance.
This will only become a reality if you can find a way to put and keep the best tenants in your rental units. Conducting a thorough tenant background check is the best way to ensure you're getting high-quality tenants who will pay their rent on time and be mindful of how they use your property.
Some rental property owners make basic mistakes when screening renters. When that happens, bad tenants can slip through the cracks.
Be sure to avoid these mistakes:
1. Skipping Tenant Screening Entirely
You know the importance of tenant screening, but sometimes, you might be tempted to skip it. Perhaps you don't have enough time to screen a renter or your apartment rental has been vacant for a couple of months, and you can't wait any longer to start collecting the rent. So, you skip the screening and trust your gut.
Maybe the tenant will turn out to be a good one. Maybe they'll become the tenant from hell. There's no way to tell for sure if you didn't screen them.
Unfortunately, such a mistake can turn out to be one of your worst landlord decisions. If the tenant is bad, they can make your life miserable, and by the time you can legally kick them out of your rental, you'll be nursing a lot of losses.
2. Not Verifying Proof of Income
You've learned your lesson. No more skipping tenant screening.
There's plenty of information you need from the renter, but the one you're most interested in is proof of income.
However, some landlords don't bother to investigate the documents they're given. It's not unfathomable that a renter can present forged paystubs, bank statements, and other proof of income documents. If a renter is employed, it's crucial to call their employer and verify the information.
If you cannot authoritatively verify these documents, it's better to be safe than sorry. Reject the application and find another renter.
3. Discriminatory Behavior
Federal and Florida fair housing laws prohibit renter discrimination based on religion, race, gender, nationality, disability, and religion. You cannot deny a renter housing because you prefer renting to people of a certain gender, for example.
Your renter application forms must not contain any discriminatory questions. A landlord lawyer can vet your forms and advice accordingly.
Also, you must subject all your renters to the same screening process. You may not necessarily be breaking any laws if you exempt some renters from screening, but it can be grounds for a lawsuit that will waste your resources.
Take a Professional Approach to Tenant Background Checks
Performing a tenant background check is the key to zeroing in on good renters. However, it takes time, and you need access to the right tools. At a small fee, you can let a professional handle your tenant screening.
At PMI Sarasota, we offer a lot more than tenant screening services. With a full-service property management package, you'll get everything from property marketing to rent collection and free rental analyses.
Get in touch with our experts, and let us take care of your rental property.