How to Screen for Good Tenants in Chattanooga, TN | Property Management

Tenant Screening (2)Rental Criteria

Have a written set of rental criteria that potential applicants can review before they visit your property or put in an application. You can state any of the requirements that a tenant has to meet in order to be approved for your property. There may be a minimum credit score, a rental history clear of evictions, and an income requirement.

Application and Screening Process

When a prospective tenant is interested in your property, provide a detailed application that collects pertinent information, identification, and permission to run background checks. You want to have everyone who is 18 years of age or older complete an application so they can be properly screened. Once you have the applications, begin the screening process. You want to check credit reports for evidence of on-time payments and to make sure there aren’t any debts owed to former landlords or utility companies. Perfect credit is probably not a reasonable expectation, but you do want a tenant who is financially responsible.

Run a complete background check and contact the listed employers to verify the applicants work where they say they work and earn what they say they earn. Verify income, and always talk to current and previous landlords. You want to find out if the tenants paid their rent on time, left any damage behind at properties, and successfully fulfilled the requirements of their lease.

Decision Making and Fair Housing

When you have an application that meets your criteria, you can approve the tenants, collect the security deposit and the first month’s rent, review the lease, and schedule a move-in inspection. If you deny a tenant’s application, make sure you let them know why in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Fair housing laws require that you treat each application fairly, so make sure you are following your process every time, and providing your written list of rental criteria to any interested parties. You cannot make decisions based on liking someone because of their religion or because you prefer a tenant without children. That can be seen as discriminatory.Chattanooga Property Management - Melanie Butler - Owner

Proper screening will help you protect your property by placing a qualified tenant. If you have any questions about property management in Chattanooga or you need help with tenant placement, please contact us at Chattanooga Property Management.


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  1. […] Tenant screening is critical, and too many landlords make the mistake of not screening their tenants at all or not screening them thoroughly. You need to collect as much information as you can about the people moving into your property, and you need to verify everything that they tell you about their rental history, employment, and income. Don’t make the mistake of violating fair housing laws while you’re screening, and be sure that your process is consistent for every applicant. […]

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