This is the most important aspect of the successful management of rental property. Application processing is typically done by us in-house. We don’t send the application to a third party for processing as do most other property managers. In general, an applicant’s past behavior is the best indicator of what to expect from them in the future. An applicant must demonstrate a history of being a good, responsible tenant or homeowner as well as meeting credit & income standards.
LANDLORD REFERENCES – We personally talk to past landlords and ask detailed, open-ended questions about the applicant’s past performance.
CREDIT REPORT – Our property manager and leasing agent has a direct connection with the Tri-merge credit bureaus-Experian, TransUnion, & Equifax. We obtain a credit report which tells us the applicant’s current and past performance toward meeting their financial obligations. It also tells us their monthly debt, credit score, and shows their previous addresses (which we compare to addresses listed on the application). An applicant must meet established credit standards.
CRIMINAL HISTORY REPORT – We run all applicants through National, State, & local databases which return and records of most wanted lists, national sex offender, specially designated nationals watch list, & criminal records by state via their social security number.
DRIVER’s LICENSE VERIFICATION – We pull a copy of the applicant’s public drivers license data. This tells us not only if the addresses given on the application are consistent but also when and what the last driver’s license activity was, such as a renewal or change of address. This is important because if someone says they have been living at a certain address for the past three years, but then we see they renewed their drivers license a year ago at a different address, a red flag goes up and we often find in that situation that the applicant is trying to conceal bad rental history.
PROPERTY TAX SEARCH – If a private individual is listed as the previous or current landlord, we will pull the tax records and verify that the person listed actually owns the property. The property tax record crosscheck, along with pulling driver license data, is what reveals most of the fraud attempts that we encounter and is a level of scrutiny that most other property management companies do not even perform.
EMPLOYMENT/INCOME – We contact the employer to verify the length of employment, status, and income. An applicant needs to earn at least 3 times the monthly rent in gross income to qualify for rental and we will want to see a copy of their pay stub.
PETS – We don’t generally permit animals/pets into managed properties unless you allow us to do so, however, more than half of renters have pets. When we make the decision to accept an applicant with pets, we minimize your risk by limiting the breed, age, number and size of the pets. We also use a special pet addendum for your protection. We are careful in selecting tenants who wish to bring pets with them.
SOCIAL MEDIA – Actions speak louder than words. Prospective tenants are usually on their best behaviour when we meet them and we understand this. To get a clearer indication of the type of individual we will be dealing with after they are approved, we look a little deeper by searching their profiles on the major social media platforms. It’s not the end all be all but there is often helpful information gleaned by employing this check.
OTHER FACTORS – Many of our managed properties are subject to Home Owner Association restrictions such as no boats or trailers, and limits on the type and number of vehicles. An otherwise qualified applicant may be unable to lease a property if, for instance, they own a boat and want to park it in the driveway. We make sure issues like that are covered up front to avoid surprises after move-in.