Screening tenants is an important part of being a landlord in Orlando. By running the appropriate checks on potential tenants, you can protect your investment by ensuring that you are renting to qualified individuals who can afford to pay rent, have a history of paying on time and taking care of the rental property, and haven’t had any issues with landlords in the past.
Understanding how to screen tenants in Orlando, Florida, is essential in reducing the risk of having problems with your tenants and protecting your investment in your rental property for the long term, which is why we’re sharing 4 tips on screening tenants in Orlando.
4 Tips on Screening Tenants in Orlando
As a landlord in Central Florida, screening renters in Orlando is critical if you value your investment. Renting to the wrong tenants can lead to the destruction of property or leave you without payment.
However, when you find the right Orlando tenants, it can be a mutually beneficial relationship in which everyone is happy. Your home, apartment, or condo is taken care of by someone who appreciates the property, and your tenants get a great place to live with a landlord who trusts and respects them.
Tenant screening in Orlando is much like the process in other places. You want to verify their credit and income so you know they can afford rent, their rental history so you know they haven’t been delinquent on payments or had issues with past landlords, and any eviction history so you can pinpoint potentially risky tenants.
The biggest things you want to look out for are dangerous or criminal pasts, which could put you, your property, and your neighbors at risk; failure to pay rent; inadequate income for the rent; and a history of evictions or tenant issues.
If you don’t screen your potential candidates properly because you want to get someone into your property quickly, you’ll pay the price. You could wind up with someone who does not respect the home, is repeatedly late with or unable to pay rent, is dangerous, or is not who you think they are.
Below, we’re sharing some of the most critical Orlando tenant screening tips and tenant screening questions that you’ll want to go through before signing anything with a tenant. Here are 4 tips on screening tenants in Orlando:
Run Credit, Background, and Income Checks
Running these baseline checks will immediately help you identify bad potential tenants and highlight which tenants have the potential to get shortlisted due to their prime candidacy.
A credit check will show whether the tenant has a history of paying their debts on time. Late or missed payments can indicate that the tenant may have difficulty making rent payments on time in the future.
A background check will reveal any criminal history the applicant may have. Criminal history is crucial to consider because you don’t want to rent to someone with a history of violence, theft, or other crimes that could pose a risk to you, your property, or your other tenants. Just be careful – there are limits on the use of criminal records in housing decisions in Florida.
An income check will show you how much money the tenant makes and whether they have a steady source of income. You need to verify this because you want to ensure the tenant can afford to pay rent – without living paycheck to paycheck or cutting it close every time.
You can run these checks yourself or hire a professional screening service to do it for you. Just ensure you’re complying with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Check Tenant Rental History
Checking a tenant’s rental history is important because it will reveal whether they have been delinquent on rent payments in the past or have had any issues with previous landlords. You can ask tenants to provide the information from their past rental history, or you can run a check online using a third-party service.
If you’re asking the tenant themselves for the information, ensure you have the time and resources to verify it. Don’t take their word for it – cross-reference any information provided to ensure everything is accurate.
Using a third-party service for Orlando, Florida, tenant screening can help do some legwork for you without requiring as much time and effort, but they can cost you more up front. Still, it may be worth investing a bit more during the search process to find the perfect fit for your rental property.
Reach Out to Previous Landlords
In addition to checking a tenant’s rental history, it’s also a good idea to reach out to their previous landlords. Talking directly to their past landlords will give you firsthand information about what it was like to work with the tenant and whether they were respectful of the property, paid rent on time, and caused any problems during their tenancy.
If the landlord has nothing but good things to say about the tenant, that’s a good sign. But even if there are some negative comments, it’s pivotal that you take them into context.
For example, if the only issue was that the tenant was late on rent a few times but always paid eventually, that’s not necessarily a deal-breaker. Still, it may be helpful to know if you want to avoid reminding your tenants about their upcoming rent or chasing them down to get each payment.
The key is to get as much information as possible so you can make an informed decision about whether to rent to a potential tenant.
These calls can often be a great source of qualitative information about potential tenants – how easy they are to communicate with, whether they went above and beyond to care for the property as their own, how they treated the neighbors, what condition they left their last rental properties in, etc.
Complete a National Eviction Check
An eviction check will show you whether the tenant has ever been evicted from a property in the past, which is a good indicator of whether the tenant will be able to follow your rental agreement and take care of your property.
Evictions don’t always appear on credit checks, so this extra step is worthwhile. On the Orange County Clerk of Court’s website, you can find resources regarding tenant and landlord obligations and evictions.
If you’re considering renting to someone with a past eviction, get more information about the situation before making a final decision. Talk to the tenant about what happened and why, and see if they have a solid plan for preventing it from happening again.
Sometimes, evictions result from an unusual scenario that has since cleared up or temporary circumstances that are no longer relevant.
How to Select Great Tenants for an Orlando Property
When screening tenants for an Orlando rental property, there are a few key things to keep in mind to improve your experience as a landlord and maintain the condition of your property.
Using Checks as Your First Step
First, run credit, background, and eviction checks to learn more about who you might be renting to. Second, contact previous landlords to gather more information about the tenant’s rental history. And finally, complete a national eviction check to see if the tenant has ever been evicted from a property.
Meet With Potential Tenants Face to Face
After you’ve done your research, it’s time to meet with potential tenants face to face. Get to know them better and see if they’re truly a good fit for your property.
During the meeting, ask about their rental history, employment situation, and how long they plan on staying in the rental to get a better idea of whether they’re likely to be a good tenant.
You should also give them a fair chance to address and correct any errors in their tenant, credit, or background check reports.
Your first in-person meeting is an excellent opportunity to set the tone for your relationship with the tenant and get everyone on the same page from the start.
Ask for References
Finally, don’t forget to ask for references from previous landlords, employers, or anyone else who can vouch for the tenant’s character. Your reference check is a critical step in the screening process that can help you avoid renting to a problem tenant.
Knowing as much about your tenants before they move all their belongings into your Orlando rental space will serve you well.
Summary of 4 Tips on Screening Tenants in Orlando
Always run credit, background, and eviction checks when screening tenants for your Orlando rental property. You should also reach out to past landlords to learn more about their experience renting to your potential tenants. Finally, run a national eviction check on anyone you’re considering to verify whether the tenant has previously been evicted from a rental property.
By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to finding great tenants for your property – and protecting your investment for many years to come.