How To Screen Potential Tenants

By: Joshua Campbell

How To Screen Potential Tenants

Tags: knowledge broker, knowledge broker real estate, toronto real estate, newmarket real estate, new homes, new condos, investment property, screen tenants, tenants rights, potential tenants

Every landlord knows how hard it is to find good tenants. Tenants who you can pay their monthly rent on time, maintain the property and respect their neighbours. Renting to a bad tenant can cause you consistent financial and structural problems. In that case, you need to ensure you are thoroughly screening all potential tenants. Here are the 5 steps you need to properly screen tenants.

  1. Provide Them An Application 
Step one is providing prospective tenants with an application form. Your real estate agent will most likely be able to provide you with a sample rental application that you can use or modify to fit your needs. Your application should include financial information, employment information, and personal information such as marital status, family size, or the number of pets. You need to also provide a section that lets potential tenants consent to you running a background and credit check, and checking their financial, employment and personal history. 
  1. What to Look For On the Rental Application
Once a tenant has returned the application there are a few things you should note as they might explain what kind of tenant they will be.
  1. Run A Credit and Background Check 
Now that you have a tenant’s consent to pull a credit and background check, do it! A credit check with show you details about the tenant’s previous credit history. Using Equifax or TransUnion you can pull a credit check for about $20. You can also use a website called TVS that is a nationwide service that offers a full credit profile, credit scores, and a criminal background check. You can also use social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to check what kind of people your potential tenants are.  
  1. Contact Previous Landlords and the Tenants Current Employer 
In their application, the potential tenants should have provided you with a list of past landlords and past or current employers. Contact previous landlords and inquire if the tenant owes any outstanding debt, did they have a history of late payments, did the tenant cause any damage to the unit, and would you rent to the tenant again in the future? When speaking to a tenant’s employer, the most important information you are looking for do they have a reliable income source. You can also inquire more about the tenant’s personality.
  1. Interview the Tenant

If you are satisfied with the information you have gained, conduct a face to face interview with the potential tenant. You can ask them questions about the information you have been given or ask questions about their hobbies, day to day activities or habits such as are they a smoker. As they answer the questions look at their body language and how they maintain eye contact. Treat this as you would if you were interviewing a potential employee.
It is important to say that under the Ontario Human Rights Code, it is illegal to refuse a property because of a person’s race, colour, ethnicity, religious beliefs, ancestry, sex, family status, sexual orientation, disability, marital status or age. The bases of your screening must be on the merits of potential tenants. If you need any help finding and screening potential tenants, please contact us for assistance.
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JOSHUA CAMPBELL (@knowledgebrkr)
Real Estate Broker
Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Centre, Brokerage
249 Avenue Road • Newmarket, ON L3Y 1N8




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