Let’s face it: the world has become a much less trusting place. Consumers are more cautious about their personal information being accessed or used without their knowledge. As a result, numerous businesses are implementing strict processes to ensure that every new employee and tenant is trustworthy and meets company standards for background checks and reference checks before extending an offer of employment or lease agreement. 

As an agent who works with prospective tenants regularly, you understand how important it is to protect your clients from potentially risky tenants. In addition, as someone who is in a position of trust with your clients, you know how imperative it is to protect them from potential con artists looking to take advantage of their good nature. While there are many excellent tenants out there, the screening process will help you understand how do real estate agents choose tenants!

The Importance of Screening Tenants

Before you agree to show a property to a potential tenant, you must be certain that he or she will be the right fit for your client. As an agent, you know that real estate is all about location. Your client may be renting out a property that was once a thriving business, and they need a tenant who will be as conscientious as they were when they were working from that building. On the other hand, your client may be renting out a home in a residential neighborhood, and they will want to find a tenant who respects their neighbors. 

You may also want to screen tenants in order to find tenants who will pay their rent on time and stay for the duration of the lease. You would certainly like to avoid tenants who are constantly looking for other housing, or who constantly find themselves behind on their rent payments. Screening tenants is essential in both of these situations. It may also be necessary to screen prospective tenants if you are in a high-risk area where residents may be at a higher risk of being victims of crime.

Background Checks

One of the first things that you should do before agreeing to show a client’s property to a prospective tenant is order a background check. This will provide you with a detailed report of the person’s past employment and criminal history, among other things. It will also allow you to identify any potential red flags that may indicate that they are a risky tenant, such as a history of filing for bankruptcy. 

If you are working with a property management company, they may offer to perform the background checks for you. However, it is important to understand that there are two main types of background checks: a basic background check, and an expanded background check. A basic background check will only provide you with a summary of the prospective tenant’s employment and criminal history. If you order an expanded background check, the company will also look into the person’s driving record.

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Reference Checks

Once you have completed background checks, it is also important to do reference checks with the prospective tenant’s previous landlords. This will allow you to determine whether or not he or she is a good tenant. You should also call the prospective tenant’s current landlord to determine whether or not he or she is in good standing. 

If the current landlord has nothing but positive things to say about the tenant, you can be fairly certain that he or she will be a good tenant. If the prospective tenant has a history of missing rent payments or has been evicted from one or more properties in the past, you may want to reconsider showing the client’s property to this person. This will protect your client as well as protect you from false accusations of discrimination.

Assigning a Franchise Manager

If you work for a franchise real estate company that offers property management services, you may assign a franchise manager to each of your clients. A franchise manager will work with your client to find prospective tenants, perform background checks, and do reference checks. They will also be responsible for collecting the rent from the tenants and disbursing it to your client. 

If you are working with a client who requires assistance with paying their bills, a franchise manager will also be responsible for assisting with this process. They can help clients apply for disability benefits, Social Security benefits, and other government assistance programs. Franchise managers are also responsible for communicating with tenants when there are issues with their lease agreements. These communications may include serving notices of termination when tenants are not meeting the terms of their lease agreement.

Eviction Process

When it comes time to evict tenants who fail to meet the terms of their lease agreement or fail to pay their rent, you will want to be certain to follow the proper procedure. In most states, the process begins with serving tenants a notice of termination that informs them that they have a certain number of days to either comply with the terms of the lease or move out of the property. 

If tenants fail to meet these requirements, you will then have to file a lawsuit against them. Once you have done so, the judge will issue an order to evict the tenants. While you may assume that the tenants will simply pack up and leave, this is not likely to happen. Instead, they will likely ignore the order to vacate, which will give you the right to call the police to forcibly remove the tenants from the property.

Summing Up

Lastly, remember that it is illegal to discriminate against tenants based on their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. While you can and should use the screening process to select tenants who are most likely to pay their rent on time and take good care of your client’s property, you cannot choose tenants based on the above criteria. Doing so could result in a lawsuit for discrimination. You must understand the tenant screening process and know how to implement it properly. You will be able to protect your clients from potentially risky tenants and protect yourself from false accusations of discrimination.

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