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Property Management Blog

Tenant screening

Web Admin - Monday, October 01, 2012

"What a nice couple" you say after meeting your new prospective residents. They are really interested in renting your place and want to give you the security deposit and pay three months rent in advance.

You have a vacant rental, and they are willing to write you a check on the spot, sounds like a win win situation, right? Not necessarily.

Little do you know, this "nice couple" just received a 3 day pay or quit notice for failure to pay their rent to their existing landlord. The clock is ticking and the eviction process has begun.

So, how would you find out?

There are alot of ways...

Collect a recent copy of their bank statement. This will show you a history of NSFs, it will have their current address listed, and you can try to identify rent payments made from the account to see how promptly they were made. It also shows deposits, which you can use to cross reference to their stated income.

Collect a copy of their photo ID, vehicle registration, and their most recent utility bill. All of these documents will list an address. Do the addresses match up to what they have reported on their rental application? Collect a copy of their paystub, that should also report their most recent address.

The most recent utility bill will show you if they are current, and, it will establish the accuracy of where they are currently living. This coupled with the next step should help prevent you from being scammed.

Take the address and enter it in the Missoula County Property Information System: http://www.co.missoula.mt.us/propertyinformation/#. This will allow you to verify if the property owner listed at the County matches the name of the landlord listed on their rental application.

Step 3, google the property owner to verify the number listed on the application is a valid number, and not the number of their friend posing as the landlord. I have had this happen countless times and saved my property owners thousands of dollars in lost rent.

And finally, you can take a drive by their reported current address and see if there is a for rent sign posted. Cross reference the phone number on the sign to the phone number they provide on the rental application, if it is by a private landlord.

If, however, the rental applicant reports that they are renting from a professional property management firm, you don't have to quite go through this level of detail, as we all provide rental references with a signed authoriziation from the tenant.

Does this sound like a lot of work? It is. But so are evictions, and they are far more costly.

Or, give us a call and let us take care of it, and all you need to worry about is improving your golf game.

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