Do you have a rental property in Oregon but do not know how to screen your tenants?
Tenant screening is essential. It’s like determining the right rent price or maintaining your property. Failure to focus could end up creating problems.
Setting the wrong rent price is a common landlord mistake that can result in the loss of money. Not doing enough maintenance lowers your property’s value and tenants’ quality of life.
Similarly, skipping the screening process could result in selecting undesirable tenants who do not follow the rules, fail to pay the rent or show negligence in other ways.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll take a closer look at how you can effectively screen the tenants for your Oregon rental property.
#1: Credit Check
In Oregon, a landlord may charge prospective tenants a screening fee. This fee may cover running a credit check.
When it comes to filling your vacant property in Oregon, you’ll want to cover the cost of effectively screening tenants. By doing so, you may get fewer applicants but you can rest easy knowing that you’ll only get applicants who are very interested in your property.
What should you look out for on the credit report?
Take a look at the following list of red flags:
- Large loans
- Credit card charge-offs
- Collection accounts
- Late payments
- Maxed out credit cards
- Unpaid balances
This list is a mix of credit problems and signs of current debt. It may show you the long-term risky behavior from the prospective tenant and forecast potential problems with paying rent on time.
A few cases in the past doesn’t necessarily mean they are unfit for renting a property but if there’s a consistent pattern, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
#2: Background Check
Many companies offer comprehensive background checks. You could get information on the following:
- Credit history
- Criminal history
- Eviction history
- Other public records
A criminal record and an eviction history may reflect the risk of accepting the individual.
Public records can also be used to check for unpaid child support, rent, and other financial problems. Such cases might predict failure to pay rent in the future.
Every potential tenant should complete a designated rental application. Here’s a list of what to include in it:
- Financial health (e.g., credit cards and loans)
- Income level
- Personal references
- Previous landlords’ contact information
State that all applicants may undergo further background checks. Clearly ask for their authorization for such procedures.
Face-to-face meetings are a must. Seeing the prospective tenant in person is different than reading their description on paper.
The best approach is to host an open-house event. Here’s a list of some potential questions to learn more about them:
- Do you have any big life changes planned soon?
- What’s your reason for moving?
- How is everything at work?
- How long do you plan to stay?
- What interests you about the property?
Along with background and credit checks, contacting previous or current employers and personal references could provide a wealth of information.
Contact their previous landlords as well. You can ask whether the person paid the rent on time or if the tenant’s move came to the landlord as a surprise.
This can demonstrate the prospective tenants’ attitude and way of dealing with you in the future.
You want a tenant that sees the landlord-tenant relationship in a proactive way. It requires a mutual effort.
What else can I do?
After accepting the tenant(s), creating a comprehensive Oregon lease agreement is important. For example, you should address the following aspects:
- Maintenance requirements on behalf of the tenants
- Number of tenants
- Payment policies
- Sub-letting policy
This list doesn’t cover all aspects but it offers you some general guidance. A good lease agreement covers as much ground as possible because it protects you from legal trouble. When your agreement addresses the source of conflict, it offers you solid legal defense.
The bottom line: how to effectively screen tenants in Oregon?
Tenant screening is a basic step for landlords. Without effective screening, you could select problematic tenants. Not all tenants have the same ethics or financial behavior.
You can start by running background and credit checks.
Meet and interview the prospective tenants. When you have cut down to a few equal candidates, it’s good to follow your intuition. Intuition gains strength from real-life situations.
Don’t forget to use personal and professional references. Contact professionals to learn more about your prospective tenants.
When you work with Rogue Real Estate Sales & Property Management, you can rest assured knowing we’ll take care of finding you the right tenants for your Oregon rental property.