Investing in Tenant Screening – A Profit or Loss?

One of the most famous Arthurian legends is the tale of the sword in the stone, which would not budge even when the strongest of men tried their best to pull it out. The trick to pulling out the sword was not brute force, as it had magical spells cast in it so that only the one who is worthy of ruling England would be able to pull it out from the stone—and the one was King Arthur. Tenant screening has more similarities to that story than one might realise at first glance. Sounds like hyperbole? Why don’t we look at the similarities between the two...

If brute force alone is the requirement to pulling out the sword, then by applying that logic to tenant screening, anyone with money enough to rent or lease your property should be the ideal tenant. But that is just wishful thinking, as tenant screening encompasses a multitude of parameters to find out that one tenant who is worthy of leasing your property. Tenant screening services help you find the right one, by checking if the applicants meet all the criteria that make an ideal tenant. Let us go through these parameters one by one:

•        Identity: Who is your tenant? Seems like a simple enough question, but look again—Who is your tenant? If the second iteration of the question sounds ominous, it is not just because of the bolded and italicised letters but because you realise the enormity of the issue. What does your tenant do for a living and where does he/she work? People are not always who they say they are, and the above questions need an answer before we can proceed to the next parameters.

•        Creditworthiness: Does the applicant have a clean financial track record? Has he/she failed to honour any previous agreements? The answers to these questions could be the difference between you receiving your rent from the tenant on time and running behind them to collect what they owe you. Checking the tenant’s creditworthiness beforehand by making sure that they have a steady income or are not on the verge of going bankrupt would go a long way in ensuring your peace of mind.

•        County Court Judgements: It is obvious that any landlord would feel uncomfortable renting or leasing out their property to someone with a history of frauds and misdemeanours. Vetting applicants by checking for criminal records is highly recommended, as it also benefits neighbours who would otherwise feel unsafe living nearby someone with a murky past. 

•        Previous Landlord Reference: Almost all of us go through product reviews on Amazon before ordering the item or look up Yelp reviews before trying out a new restaurant. If only there were a Yelp for Prospective Tenants, right! References from previous landlords can give you a good idea of your applicant’s temperament. Messy tenants leave behind messy homes, and who better than the previous landlord to provide insight. Obviously, previous eviction notices are a big no!

•        Employer Tenant Reference: A positive feedback from the applicant’s employer about their employment and earnings ensures that the applicant is in a healthy employment bracket and would be able to pay the rent on time.

An exhaustive analysis of data from all the above parameters is done during the tenant screening process, and the applicant is recommended to the landlord only if all of these parameters are met. Coming to the question raised in the title, as you can see, tenant screening might cost you initially, but the benefits outweigh the cost, thereby ensuring a smooth transition of your property to a reliable tenant who is not only hassle-free but is deemed worthy of renting/leasing your property, much like King Arthur was deemed worthy of ruling England by passing the litmus test of dislodging the sword from the stone!