Eviction risk is a major concern for landlords and the worst-case scenario of a landlord-tenant relationship is one that culminates in an eviction. However, there are almost always signs and red flags early in the leasing process that, if heeded, could help landlords to limit eviction risk and avoid problem tenants.
The proper screening of all applicants can help to ensure landlords choose the best tenants from their available pool of candidates.
The following are six landlord tips to minimize eviction risk (the risk of having to evict tenants now or at some point in the future):
1. Verify Employment and Income
Nonpayment of rent is the most common cause for eviction. Verifying the financial viability of each tenant is crucial to avoiding this problem and minimizing eviction risk. Generally, the household of the applicant should generate three times the income required for monthly rent payments. A call to their employer and viewing a recent employer check stub can help verify that the information provided on the rental application is accurate.
2. Credit Check
Another key step to verify the financial viability of a potential tenant is running a credit check. While an applicant may currently have a good job and sufficient income to pay the rent, they could have a spotty payment record and poor credit. A check of their credit history and credit score can shed light on their financial track record and give a better picture of what kind of tenant they will be and lessen eviction risk. A professional background check company can perform credit checks for rental applicants.
3. Eviction Records Check
The best indicator of future results is past performance. If a tenant has been evicted in the past, they could be more likely to be an eviction risk in another rental scenario. Checking with former landlords and/or an eviction report check can shed light on the level of eviction risk. A professional tenant screening service can easily perform this check in a way that is legal and in compliance with state regulations.
4. Maintain and Optimize Properties
One of the top reasons for non-payment of rent cited by tenants is a problem with the condition of the property. In such disputes, the tenant feels that the quality of the unit is lacking, therefore they are justified in late rent payment, partial rent payment or complete non-payment of rent. Landlords should commit to ongoing maintenance and updates for each unit so that no tenant can claim this type of excuse for missing rent payments that could otherwise result in the need for eviction.
5. Clear Lease Terms
A concise, comprehensive and clear lease is another key to landlord success with tenants. All terms should be thoroughly considered and included in straightforward language in the lease. When landlords and tenants are on the same page in the early stages of the leasing process, this paves the way for a successful relationship going forward and reduces eviction risk.
6. Be Intuitive and Professional
Over time, many landlords and property managers develop a strong intuition when making selections regarding who to choose as a tenant. While this can be a valuable attribute, landlords should always balance this method with professionalism. Professional background checks and following up with the information on rental applicants are important components of comprehensive tenant screening and minimizing eviction risk.
A worst-case scenario in a landlord-tenant relationship is the need for an eviction. Fortunately, there are proven measures landlords can take to eviction risk and avoid this outcome. Using the six steps discussed here can greatly increase the odds of choosing ideal tenants and creating business success.