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Choosing the wrong tenant for your property can give you sleepless nights. Apart from having the risk of property damage, you might also get tired of receiving complaints from angry neighbors.

On the other hand if you take a bit of time to find a suitable renter, you can get the assurance that your house is in the right hands. The selection procedure might be a bit difficult for you as every tenant you come across would act like the best choice for you.

That is why it is extremely important for the safety of your property and your image to screen each and every tenant who shows interest in staying at your property on rent. You have two ways to initiate a thorough background check up of a potential tenant, one you can hire a company who works for you or you can do it yourself.

If you choose the first option, your work will be done in a professional manner whereas if you screen your tenants yourself you have to be very careful.

Let’s have a look at the steps to screen potential tenants for rental properties.

1. Rental application

Start your search operation by preparing application forms for each potential tenant. Sample rental applications are available online and you can get it from your local real estate association.

While making the application form, you must ensure that it covers everything that you need to know about your tenant. You can inquire about the following in your rental application form

 * Ask about the tenant’s previous employers, job duration, whether he has a tendency of switching jobs frequently?
 * The tenant’s level of income
 * Ask for the contact details of the tenant’s previous landlords that include previous addresses, amounts of rent paid and reasons for shifting. 
 * Information about their lifestyle for example- whether they have pets or not and the number of occupants should also be mentioned in the application. 
 * Ask for financial details like credit cards, bank accounts and minimum monthly expenditure to get an idea of his ability to pay

0nce a prospect fills up the form and submit it to you, make sure that you review from the beginning to the end of it so that the tenant cannot avoid a single question given in the form.

2. Initiate a background check

A background check in Canada is very important before allowing anyone to stay in your rental property. This does nothing but unveils his past records which include his or her criminal history, eviction history, credit history and other public records. To obtain these records you can simply use the tenant’s social security number.

3. Initiate a credit check

There are some states where the potential tenant has to pay a certain amount to order a credit or background check. On the other hand, other states ask landlords to cover the cost. A credit background check covers the details of the tenant’s previous credit history, going back 7 to 10 years. Do not forget to review the tenant’s credit history and current debt.

4. Contact the previous tenant

The conversation between the current landlord and the former landlord reveals a lot about a tenant. Don’t just only ask about their sincerity of paying the rent, to get an idea about him and his lifestyle you can ask other relevant questions as well such as

 * Has the tenant caused any damage to his property?
 * Does the tenant awe you any understanding debt? ETC

5. Have a question answer session with the tenant

Even after doing every possible research, a direct conversation is a must. Nothing can replace the utility of a direct conversation, be it telephonic or face to face. This helps you get an idea of the kind of lifestyle the tenant leads.

If you love your property then you cannot avoid the process of screening tenants to ensure the safety of your property.  You do not need to be a detective to do that, just review the information provided to you by the tenant and follow your instinct. But at the same time you should never go too far to investigate because this would increase your risk of violating the privacy laws under the landlord and tenant act.