The goal of the tenant selection process is to find the best tenants in the shortest amount of time possible. The screening is made up of rigid procedures that don’t leave anything to chance and include the following:

Employment letter

This letter is going to confirm that the person actually works where he says he does in his application. You’ll also want to see some type of income verification in the letter or along with it. A person that has been solidly employed for a respectable amount of time with verifiable income makes a great tenant as long as all of the other selection factors line up as well. I would also recommend to give them a call to make sure that they are giving you accurate information about their source of income. You will also get a sense of how the employer feels about them.

Credit Bureau report

This is one of the steps of tenant selection that must never be skipped. A person’s credit score lets you know the level of responsibility that the individual has when it comes to finances. Some people just don’t understand that a financial commitment must be honoured in every regard. When you take a look through the credit bureau report you’ll be able to see firsthand how the potential tenant treats his financial obligations. It’s easy to conclude that an individual that tends to skip payments on his credit card or pays them late will do the same with his rent payments.

Reference check

Do your homework on the tenant. Tenant selection becomes more interesting when you ask for references and start checking them out. While the prospective tenant is going to be providing you with the names of friends and family members, you can also ask for the previous landlord’s contact information. Don’t be afraid to call previous landlords. Whatever the tenant did with the previous landlord, they will do with you. Do NOT rent to somebody who has “walked out on a lease”. There are certain times of the year where it can be very difficult to get replacement tenant. Obviously you are also concerned with whether they pay their rent on time.

Gut Feeling

Be a good listener! Pay careful attention to what the tenant says and the questions the tenant asks. When you are listening to the tenant’s questions and comments, look for clues that suggest what their attitude is toward the house and the landlord.

Some examples of possible red flags:

  • Saying negative things about a previous landlord or property

  • Making excessive references to the Residential Tenancies Act. Few people even know what is in the statute

  • Talking poorly about his employer and his attitude at work

The data that you receive from the landlord will be a direct reflection of what you can expect from this person or couple when they become your tenant. This is going to be the most important reference of those provided and it is critical that you get in touch with this landlord, even if it means playing a game of telephone tag to reach him.

The process of selecting tenants cannot be emotionally driven and arbitrary. It is the most important action that you’ll need to take as a landlord to ensure that the property is well-maintained, the rent is paid every month on time and the other tenants in the building remain happy.