Welcome to San Diego Blog | October 28, 2017
Tenant Selection Tips for Property Owners
Owning an investment property can be a dream or a nightmare, and picking the right tenant can be a daunting task. Picking the right property is just the first step in the process, and without knowledge and experience finding a tenant can be even harder! There are Federal, State, and Local laws that can affect this process as well adding more confusion to this process! Here are a few tips for selecting the best tenant for your home:
Adhere to Fair Housing Laws
This may seem like an obvious place to start, but do you know all of the fair housing laws affecting your rental property? State and Local laws must be adhered to if stricter (ie. more protected classes) than the federal guidelines and in California, the state law is almost always stricter so make sure you follow these guidelines. The protected classes in California include but are not limited to: Race/Color, Ancestry or national origin, Religion, Disability (mental or physical), Sex, Gender, Sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital status, familial status and source of income!
Choose an Tenant with Good Credit
This is the best way to check if someone has been a responsible bill payer in the past and will likely do so for you in the future. It will also give you a good idea of their debt to income ratio, which helps determine income level. Make sure you receive a credit report that shows more than just a number; the more detailed the report, the more you can tell about that person. A good report will also show any prior evictions, civil judgements against or bankruptcies, and criminal records. In California however, landlords are prohibited from discriminating against renters with certain criminal convictions so be very careful with this!
Verify Their Income
In order to qualify for a rental unit most professional management company require at least 2.5x the monthly rent in household pre-tax income. To verify this I recommend collecting at least 2 of their most recent paystubs, calling their employer directly (get the number from Google, not the number your applicant listed) and confirming employment, length of employment, and checking their income/debt ratio.
Check the Tenant’s Rental History
You should require any applicant to list their previous two landlords. The reason for two landlords is simple: the current landlord could lie to get rid of a problem resident! You should ask the landlords the following questions:
- Have they ever been late on paying rent? If yes, more than once?
- Did they follow the rules of management and/or the landlord?
- Have you issued any 3-day violations of their lease?
- Did they maintain the property in an acceptable condition?
- Would you rent to them again?
- Did they owe any money when they left?
There are always going to be scenarios where rental verification is not possible (first time renter, Armed Services Member returning from deployment, international renters, etc.). When this occurs, consider a cosigner or increased deposit.
USE A PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANY!
Does this all sound like too much work to take on your own? Are you confused on what to look for in a credit report to determine whether the applicant will be a good tenant? If you answered YES then why do the work yourself? For a small fee Welcome to San Diego will take care of all of this for you and present you with a concise report on the applicant, allowing you to make a quick yes or no answer! This also frees up your time to spend it doing what you actually enjoy, whether that is spending time with family, traveling, or finding more investment properties. Your time is valuable, let us do the hard work!