When it’s time to screen potential tenants, go grab your detective hat, it’s time to start digging. Any property manager with experience would agree that quality tenants and retention is crucial to profitability. Some tenants might be quick to leave, some you would want to force out. Either way, it is harming your property management returns. Solution? Precaution! Carefully screen your tenants. This is a time when leniency should be shunned. Investigate like a private eye if you need to. A lapse in judgment will cost you even more. Besides screening tenants demands time investment.
Prepare Qualification Criteria:
If you have managed properties before, you would have a vague idea of the appeal of property to certain sections of the society. There will be loads of people applying for it. But, depending on the property, locality, rent etc. you can jot down a list of criteria that would help you narrow down the list of potential tenants. You can also put down minimum income that you think your tenant ought to have to be able to afford the rent. FYI, it cannot be exactly the rent amount. That would be foolish. You can further divide it into two categories, mandatory criteria & secondary. The secondary criteria would be characteristics that are already prevalent in the community around the property or personalities that would be able to comfortably fit in with the property surroundings. If your property is in Dubai sports city, it is obvious that people inclined towards sports as a hobby or profession are more likely to feel at home there. The mandatory criteria are the basic requirement which would satisfy financial and security needs, the secondary criteria are concerned with tenant retention.
Verification of Income:
This is a pretty regular procedure to follow, usually, the first thing that property managers around the world look for when selecting a tenant. It might look simple, just request the applicant to submit proof of their income, either in form of salary slip or financial report or bank report etc. Once you receive the requested report, it is also necessary to verify these. It is not that difficult to forge a document. So, be vigilant of fraudulent papers as it may land you in trouble later on. You may ask for 3 months of bank statements and verify the consistency with the bank itself, one phone call, with the applicant’s consent, of course, would be verification enough. Make sure that they have a more or less consistent source of income, which itself should be adequate to afford the property in concern.
This may fall under borderline snooping, but it’s not illegal. Social Media profiles are open to the public unless the user decides has blocked it from public viewing. You can cross-check the information the tenant provided. Certain red-flags become apparent from social media profiles such as affiliation with questionable elements, their lifestyle, pets, behavioural tendencies etc. More you dig more you find. If there is anything that might be an indication of impending disaster, better avoid leasing to that applicant.
You should ask the tenant for multiple referrals, which should include those of two previous landlords. The current landlord may lie and speak ill or well of the tenant based on their current situation. But, with the previous landlord, a lot of water has run under the bridge and you might get a more objective opinion of the person. You can check the number with local listings to ensure that it is the landlord and not a friend pretending to be a landlord. Take every measure of caution. The tenants may also put family members or colleagues/bosses as referrals. Call them all up and make note of their statements to check for consistency and contradictions. If there are too many contradictions, it’s a red-alert. If consistency is too good to be true, it’s a red alert again. But picking up matter from between the lines would give you a pretty good idea about the tenant’s lifestyle, behaviour, attitude, morals, character etc.
Before you even proceed towards presenting a lease agreement, push the rental application forward and request the tenant to complete it. If the tenant refuses to fill it or leaves out a couple of sections, then you have reasons to doubt them. Insist on submission of the complete application. It is legally binding in a manner and if you ever find a contradiction, you have justified reasons to carry out the eviction. Much of the information in the rental application would be required to prepare the lease agreement.