Today we’re talking about how to select the best tenant for your Indianapolis area property. We are assuming you have already done your marketing and now you have a stack of applications waiting for you. How do you determine which tenant is the right one for you and your property to avoid eviction?
Before you begin your screening, it’s important that you understand the fair housing laws. There are seven protected classes of people that you must be sure you are not discriminating against when you choose a tenant. You cannot approve or reject a tenant based on:
- National origin
- Disability, including mental and physical disabilities
- Familial status
- Religion or lack of religion
Credit and Criminal Checks
You have to run a credit report on all potential tenants. This will tell you what that applicant’s past behavior was when they’ve been obligated to pay someone money. People tend to repeat behavior, so pull the credit report. In addition to reviewing credit, you’ll want to do a criminal background check as well. This will tell you if the person has a history of damaging property or if it’s someone who may pose a threat to other people.
Always check references. This step often gets skipped because it’s time consuming and it can be hard to get people on the phone. However, it’s not a step you want to forget for property management. Check employer references and landlord references. Look into past landlords instead of just the current landlord. It’s possible the current landlord is in a hurry to get rid of that tenant. Ask former landlords how the tenant behaved. Find out what condition the property was left in and if it was kept clean. Ask if all the bills were paid. You really want to get an idea of how that separation process was handled.
Tenant screening is really what separates the professionals from the amateurs. You have to get it right or your asset will be in danger. If you have any questions about tenant screening or you need help finding the best possible tenant for your property, please contact us at Indiana Property Management Group.