If you rent out real estate in Atlanta, you probably know that screening your potential tenants prior to renting to them can afford you a lot of peace of mind. There are many risks that come with renting to people you haven’t fully vetted, such as damage to your property, loss of rent, and the added hassle and expense of legal fees associated with evictions and lawsuits. Luckily, there are a number of things that you can do to protect your investment and yourself from harm.
Always Use a Rental Application
You can find various rental applications online, or you can create a specialized one for your property. A good rental application asks for basic verifiable information for each person who will be renting from you, such as name, current address and phone number, employer, current and former landlords, employment and banking information, and personal references. If you allow pets in your rental properties, you will also want detailed information on the number, type, and breed of pets owned by the applicants. Verify all of this information by calling the applicants’ employers, references, and landlords.
Run a Background Check and Credit Check
You can check the applicants’ credit reports through one of the three credit reporting agencies. If an applicant is in major debt or has a history of paying bills late, he or she will likely not be a responsible tenant. Running basic background checks will provide you with the applicants’ criminal records and inform you if an applicant has ever been evicted. You can also find out if an applicant has filed for bankruptcy or has been sued by bill collectors or previous landlords.
Consider Using a Property Management Company
A property management company can be of great assistance to a landlord who lives far away from his or her rental properties or who simply doesn’t have the time necessary to conduct proper tenant screenings. A residential property management company will help you find and screen tenants, manage lease agreements, and handle maintenance issues and evictions.