What do you do to screen a tenant?

Hey, everybody. Matthew Whitaker here. I’m shooting another video called questions that owners ask. As you can see, the sun’s setting on me, and I’m in Dallas, Texas in a hotel room. So I thought of this question. We got this question from an owner recently. “What do you do to screen a tenant?” was, I believe, his question.

And so the first thing we’re gonna look at is credit score.

A lotta property managers actually say that you don’t need to look at a credit score. I think that is silly.

Why wouldn’t you look at a credit score?

Because basically, it’s just a score of someone’s ability to pay their bills. It is determined for the very reason that huge companies are looking at credit scores to give mortgages, give car loans.

Like, why wouldn’t we use a credit score if we have access to it?

It is, literally, a number that is indicative of whether this person paid the bills, and we want them to pay the bills. So credit score is the first thing we look for.

Second thing is an eviction check.

Has this person ever been evicted? We will allow someone to have one eviction if they paid off everything. So sometimes, things happen in people’s lives, but two evictions is a no-no. One eviction without paying it off is a no-no, so an eviction check is the second thing we look at.

The third thing we look at is income verification.

We wanna make sure that that person makes enough money. We look for three times the gross monthly rent.  There are some caveats to that. We kinda reserve the right to change that if the person has a lot of commitments, like…crazy things like child support or huge car loans or tons of car loans, but typically, it’s three times the gross monthly rent.

And the last thing we look at is criminal background check.

Fair Housing’s been kind of cracking down on this. Let me just say this so I don’t get in trouble.

What we say is we don’t want this person to be a threat to the people that live around the house in the neighborhood, and we don’t want this person to be a threat to the property.

So we do have a process for underwriting criminal background checks, but we can get into more detail, if you’d like, with that. So this is questions that owners ask. This question is, “What do you do to screen a tenant?”