In the quest to avoid long vacancy periods with your St. Louis rental property, you may be in a hurry to market your property, place a tenant, and begin collecting rent.
This is understandable, but also risky.
You don’t want a long vacancy, but you also don’t want a bad tenant. It’s important to put together a reliable and consistent screening process so you can be sure you’re placing a tenant who can be trusted to pay rent on time, take care of your property, and follow the terms of the lease agreement. Don’t hand over the keys to someone you have not thoroughly screened.
Here are some of the things that may help you find a good tenant for your St. Louis investment property.
Pre-screening Questions before Showing a St. Louis Rental Property
One of the best things you can do is pre-screen prospective tenants before you even allow them to see the property you have available. This will help you weed through those who would not be a good fit for one reason or another. When tenants get in touch, ask when they plan to move. You don’t want a tenant who isn’t ready to move for three months. Find out why they’re leaving their current property. Ask if they have pets and how many people will occupy the home.
Let them know how much you’re charging in rent and ask how much they earn. Some quick math will tell you whether or not they can afford the property. You can also ask if they’ve ever been evicted. When all of their answers match up to your criteria, you can schedule a showing.
Establish Standard Rental Qualifying Criteria
Establish a set of standards that must be met before a tenant can be approved to rent your property. This will allow you to further screen potential tenants before they even turn in an application. Be specific about what is acceptable and what isn’t. For example, you may want tenants who earn at least three times the rental amount. Perhaps there’s a minimum credit score you’ll consider. Or, you won’t accept any evictions in the last 10 years. Most tenants understand that they will have to meet reasonable requirements before they can be offered a lease agreement.
Having a documented set of criteria will protect you against any potentially expensive fair housing mistakes. When you’re screening tenants, you aren’t allowed to consider things like race, religion, disability, or familial status. A documented set of criteria will demonstrate the objective standards that every applicant must meet.
How to Screen St. Louis Tenants
Once you have a completed application that’s signed, you will want to run complete background, credit, and criminal checks. The specific things you’re looking for are:
- Income and employment
- Credit and financial stability
- Criminal history and eviction history
- Landlord references and rental history
Renting to well-qualified tenants will result in less risk for eviction, rental property damage, late rent payments, and lease violations.
When your applicants understand what you’re looking for, you have a good chance of finding highly qualified residents. If you’d like some help with tenant screening or St. Louis property management, please contact us at Amoso Properties.