Screening application email, Mn single family house

5 Replies

I just wanted some input on how to best screen tenets, I simply email them some questions and an application (pdf) and ask them to fill it out, most of the time they don't respond ( my though is because they don't have a credit score, they have pets or they have a criminal background)  The application I use is the one from Bigger pockets. 

Here are the questions I send out, (some of them are repeats in the application but I want to weed out the No's quick)  Also I ask them to go to a website for there free credit report and screen shot it, (figured if they do that they have nothing to hide),

Please go to website for your credit score and screen shot it and send to me. Thankyou

1. Applicant must have current photo identification.
2. All income must be from a verifiable source. Unverifiable income will not be considered.
3. Applicants must receive positive references from all previous landlords for the previous 5 years.
4. Applicant may not have any evictions or unpaid judgments from previous landlords can not have any prior felonies.
5. Applicant must exhibit a responsible financial life. Credit score must be a minimum of 600.

6. A background check will be conducted on all applicants over 18. Applicant's background must exhibit a pattern of responsibility.
Renter responsible for utilities

7. No Pets. 

Wanted to make sure i'm screening tenets the best way and not making things to confusing. 

Patrick, I would add gross income must be at least 3 times the rent Amount.

My only concern is you might be scaring everyone off even if they do qualify.

I just schedule open houses and have everyone show up at same time so I am not waiting for people who don't show up. 

I don't run a background check till I get a $40 application fee.

Good thinking, I also wont run a background check till they see the house. I should write something on the email to inform them about not needed $ till they physical see the house. 

I won't take any applications until I meet people and show them the house.  If someone is willing to fill out an application before even seeing the house, they usually aren't the ones I want to rent to.  

When scheduling showings, I schedule an open house time frame and do not make separate appointments for each person.  I don't want them wasting my time and you will find out some people will be no call/no show.  I also like when there are a few parties looking at the house at the same time as it shows there is some competition.

I never tell someone they are my first or only applicant-even if they are.

I give everyone an application or the info to apply online, even if I can tell there is no way I would rent the home to them.  

For screening, I look at their criminal and rental histories, then income to ensure the have sufficient income to support the payment.  I don't use a general rule of thumb in relation to 3X rent as someone with an income of 2X rent might be able to afford it easier than a family of 6 with a 3X.

The last thing I do is trust my gut feeling with tenants.  If I do not get a good feeling from them, I will usually look to the next candidate.

If I were a tenant I would think this is too much of a hassle especially if there are other units for rent in the area.  Also, unless things have changed, you don't get your credit score on the free credit report sites.  They only send you a listing of what is on your record.  Has been a while since I have done this so let me know if it has changed.

I don't know the area you are looking but was it a house is STC that you are looking to rent?  You have to be realistic on some things, if you are in an area where your target is students they may not have any credit built up.  If you are in a C/D area you will also likely be targeting C/D tenants, an A tenant likely wont' want to live there. 

Your current process seems overly cumbersome.  What we do is post our rental criteria and schedule showings at the property.  Any back and forth before hand trying to screen them may be wasted time if they don't like your property in the first place.  If they seem to like it you can ask some questions when you meet them but otherwise I would recommend you take their application, application fee, and pay for a background check to be run. 

Some people try to screen heavily before meeting people thinking it wastes time to meet them but if they won't look at the place I don't feel the need to answer 100 questions.  The people who don't meet all of our criteria and are interested typically will message back "could I pay to add my cat" or something.

Be careful renting right now, most people looking in our area are seem desperate.  Nobody likes to move this time of year, they would rather wait a couple months.

would like someone in there by apr 1st .or may 1st latest. waiting on carpet install to do open house/showings. 

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