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Tenant Screening – Chesapeake Property Management Company Advice

System - Tuesday, March 29, 2016
One of the most important steps in screening tenants for your Hampton Roads rental property is establishing a list of minimum requirements for acceptance. We recommend that you put together a written list of requirements before you begin accepting applications to serve you as a checklist.

Verifiable Income

We require that tenants earn at least 2.5 times the monthly rental rate in verifiable income. Tenants rarely know how much they can afford, so setting up minimum income guidelines ensures you aren’t accepting tenants who will over extend themselves. Call the employer and/or ask for pay stubs so you can document how much the tenant earns.

Completed Applications

You also want to run a complete background check that includes obtaining positive references, looking for good credit and checking prior rental histories that indicate no evictions ever. The next step is to have prospective tenants fill out an application. We require any occupant over the age of 18 to fill out an application so we can check credit. This includes young adults who are still dependent on their parents.

Landlord References

Make sure the landlord references are really the people who own the property. Check county records to confirm ownership. We have had times where glowing references were not from the real owner. Taking the time to check those records can help to avoid headaches in the future.

Screening Questions

“Must-Ask Questions” include gathering personal information like the applicant’s name, date of birth, social security number, and the names of current and past landlords. You want to get a current address and employer contact information. Ask if they have ever been evicted or if an eviction has ever been filed against them. You’ll also need a signature that allows for the release of personal information.

Legal Compliance

Make sure you are always compliant with federal fair housing laws and the VRLTA – which is the Virginia Rental Landlord Tenant Act. If you’re not familiar with the requirements of these laws, a simple Google search on fair housing will give you the information you need. It is of the utmost importance that you adhere to the guidelines to avoid any potential legal trouble from your tenant.

We pride ourselves on being real estate experts. If you’d like to speak with one of our rental property staff, please contact us at Ron Sawyer Property Management 757-447-4881.

517 Baylor Ct
Chesapeake, VA 23320
Phone: 757-447-4881
Fax: 757-276-5298

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