Quick Guide to Effective Tenant Screening in Reno

Part of owning a successful Reno investment property is ensuring only the best tenants occupy your rental. For this to happen, your tenant screening process must be comprehensive.

If you’re wondering how to find a quality tenant or what steps you can take to make your screening process the best it can be, continue reading!

Identifying High-Quality Renters

When you’re looking for a new tenant, be sure that they meet the following standards before signing a lease. The tenant should:

  • Be able to afford rent.
  • Have a stable job.
  • Provide quality landlord references.
  • Have a clean criminal record.
  • Have a history of paying rent on time and maintaining their prior rentals.

Screening Tenants

As you begin to review tenant applications for your rental, we recommend you take the following steps.

Conduct a Pre-Screening

When pre-screening prospective tenants, you should have a list of what makes a tenant ideal for your rental, especially as a new landlord. This will help you determine which questions to ask when interviewing potential renters for the first time.

Schedule a Meeting

Scheduling an in-person meeting with a prospective tenant is a great way to determine whether they are suitable for your rental. A great way to schedule a meeting with a potential renter is to host a property showing prior to signing the lease.
how to screen tenants reno nevada
Meeting applicants in person will help you get a sense of who they are and what future interactions with them will be like should you decide to lease your property to them. It also offers you an opportunity to take note of any red flags that may pop up. Some red flags include:

  • Showing up late to the meeting.
  • Refusing to authorize a credit or background check.
  • Having an aggressive or confrontational communication style.

During your meeting, you can discuss certain things with the applicant to determine whether they are a good fit for your rental. Be sure to:

  • Mention any additional fees or specific rental policies including those regarding pets or subletting.
  • Find out the reason that a tenant is moving and why they’re interested in your property.

Review the Application

Your rental application should require the applicant to provide specific information such as their:

  • Contact information.
  • Current home address.
  • Current landlord’s name and contact information.
  • Rental history, including the prior landlords’ names and contact information.
  • Employment history and proof of employment.
  • Authorization for credit and background checking.

We also recommend verifying a prospective tenant’s income prior to signing a lease. You can do this by requesting a paystub, W-2, or offer letter. This will help ensure the applicant is able to pay rent on time and in full per the terms of the lease.
tenant screening guide
Once you have this information from the applicant, you can proceed to contact their references and complete any credit and background checks.

Credit and Background Checks

As a landlord, it’s imperative to find out about a prospect’s background before welcoming them to your Reno rental home. Here are a few important checks to make:

  • Credit score.
  • Prior evictions.
  • Criminal record.
  • National sex offender status.
  • Social security number.

Generally, we suggest renting to tenants with no prior evictions or criminal histories and ensuring that the applicant has a credit score of 680 or higher.

However, if the applicant has demonstrated fiscal responsibility and positive community engagement they may still make a great tenant despite their past.

Questions to Ask Prior Landlords

We suggest contacting an applicant’s present and former landlords to gain a better understanding of whether they will make a great long-term tenant or not.

While some current landlords may be reluctant to fully disclose whether a tenant is problematic, prior landlords are often quick to confirm whether a renter has missed rent payments, created disturbances or caused property damage.

To ensure the landlord references you call are valid, you can ask in-depth questions regarding their vacant units and industry experience before asking for information about your potential renter.

Accepting or Denying Applications

When you’ve finished your assessment, you can decide whether to accept or deny a prospective tenant’s application.

If you decide to say yes to the renter, then you can call them or send an email letting them know your choice. In this correspondence, be sure to provide them with information on their next steps, including signing the lease.

tenant screening tips for landlords
If you decide to reject a tenant, be sure to send them a written notification via mail or email. This approach ensures you’ll have proof that you denied their application.

Your note must be straightforward. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to communicate the reason behind your decision unless an inquiry is made by the applicant.

Always make sure that your choice is compliant with the Fair Housing Act and that your reasons for rejecting an applicant are not based on the applicant's race, religion, gender or sexuality, or any other protected classes.

Justifiable reasons for rejecting an application include inadequate income or a less than satisfactory credit score.

Bottom Line

As a Reno property owner, you retain control over the kind of renters you welcome into your unit. You can be sure to land the best tenants when you use a great tenant screening process. This means you’ll face less property damage and financial losses.

To ensure your tenant screening process is thorough and always compliant with Landlord-Tenant Laws, consider hiring the experts at Evolve Nevada! Our experienced team is committed to maximizing your ROI and protecting your investment by only renting to high-quality tenants.

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I could not be happier with my decision to engage Evolve Nevada to manage my rental property. They are a perfect mix of expertise and personal touch that makes the relationship constructive and worthwhile. I rely on Evolve Nevada not just for the mechanics of renting my home, but for trusted advice on best ways to proceed -- leveraging their experience -- that will benefit me long-term. I highly recommend Evolve Nevada for property management.

Owner BH

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