5 ways to screen tenants

How to do it properly

So you’ve found yourself a property. First of all, congratulations! That’s half the battle right there.

Now you have started to market your property to potential renters and have started to get interest from potential tenants about your property. But you want to make sure that everything they said in their application can be verified. You want to select the ‘perfect’ tenant that will pay rent on time and will take care of your property. 

Here’s 5 ways you can make sure you are screening your potential tenants properly.

  • Follow Your Provincial Laws
    • When screening potential tenants, it is important to be in compliance with the law at all times. In Canada, the Human Rights Act and the Residential Tenancies Act exists to protect people from unlawful discrimination. This is important when screening and deciding on potential tenants.
    • You cannot discriminate against potential tenants based on:
      • Race
      • National or Ethnic Origin
      • Colour
      • Religion
      • Sex
      • Sexual Orientation
      • Gender Identity or Expression
      • Marital and family Status 
      • Disability 
    • Understanding the basic concepts within these laws is important. We recommend that you acquaint yourself with them properly.
  • Perform a Credit Check
    • It is important to make sure that your potential tenant is financially responsible. A better credit score will lead to a higher chance that the tenant will pay rent on time and be responsible with the unit.
    • Credit checks typically cost an additional fee, landlords can typically include the fee within the tenant’s rental application. Either way, it is a small price to pay for comfort.
  • Verify The Tenants Income
    • Ideally you would like a tenant with a gross income that is three times the monthly rent.
    • It is important to verify any information the tenant has provided about their employment and income with:
      • Pay stubs from their employer
      • Verify with the employer the tenant’s length of employment
  • Verify Tenants Rental History
    • Many potential tenants will have rented in the past. This is a great way to verify their rental behaviour and relationships they’ve had with past landlords.
    • Collect references from past landlords or property managers.
    • Contact them directly and verify:
      • That they paid their rent on time
      • Whether they were respectful of the unit and their neighbours
      • Whether they filed complaints often, and 
      • Their reason for leaving the rental property.
    • This is a crucial step in screening the best tenants and should not be overlooked. You want to get a better understanding and feel about the tenant’s personality and habits. You want to make sure they are a good fit for your rental and that they will respect both the unit and their neighbours.
  • Confirm Their Identity Online
    • We live in a world where almost everyone uses social media and has an online presence. 
    • If you really want to understand your potential tenant better and view how they portray themselves to their friends and family, this can be done by looking for their social media accounts.
    • Find their:
      • Facebook
      • Instagram
      • Twitter
      • LinkedIn
      • Google them
    • You want to verify any information they have provided you with on their rental application.
    • You also want to see what type of lifestyle they have, is it quiet, or do they party daily? Have they complained about past landlords and property managers? If so why? And most importantly, were they respectful?

Completing these 5 tenant screening tips will maximize the probability that you place a good tenant in your brand new rental property.