Criminal History and Other Checklist Tips for Screening Tenants in Phoenix, AZ

Tenant screening in Phoenix, AZ should focus on criminal history, financial information, and employment. This is a crucial part of having a good experience as a landlord. One bad tenant can cost you financially and personally. Make sure you do a complete background screening, and verify everything that’s provided on the application.

Checking Credit

It would be great if most tenants had stellar credit scores, but you probably aren’t going to find perfect credit with a lot of your applicants. You should expect to see student loan debt, medical bills, and even foreclosures and short sales. Those are issues you can probably work with, because it doesn’t mean the applicant will be a bad tenant. Things that would concern you might include utility accounts going unpaid, and late credit card and cell phone bills. If there are past collections and judgments from landlords and other property management companies, you need to think twice before renting to that tenant. So, don’t pay too much attention to the score; instead, focus on what the tenant pays and doesn’t pay.

Verifying Employment and Income

It’s important for the tenant to earn enough money to pay the rent on time every month. A good standard is that your tenants earn three times the monthly rent, before taxes. That means if you rent out your home for $1,000 a month – you need a tenant who earns at least $3,000 a month. Always ask for documentation to prove income. Pay stubs are a good way to prove what they earn, or you can talk directly to the tenant’s employer. Call the employer or a reference so you can confirm the applicant works there and will remain employed for the near future.

Looking at Criminal History

When you run a criminal background check on a tenant, you might get some information that isn’t going to disqualify the tenant. For example, a speeding ticket is not going to lead to missed rent payments and property damage. If there are convicted felonies on the record, you might want to think twice. Most property managers in Phoenix will not approve a tenant who has been convicted of a serious or dangerous crime.

These are the most important parts of the tenant screening process. If you need any help or you have any questions, contact Rentals America.

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