If you're trying to find a tenant for your investment property in Boise, you might be feeling tempted to lower your standards.
After all, Boise rents recently saw one of the largest price declines on record, as the state and the nation reel from a housing market contraction. It might be a buyer's market, but that does not mean you should be letting anyone stay in your property.
With the right tenant screening in place, you can find a high-quality, trustworthy tenant in good time, before the costs become too large. Here are our essential tips for screening tenants in Boise, ID.
Use Consistent Tenant Screening Criteria
One of the best nuggets of landlord advice we can give is to stick with the classics and apply them consistently. The most tried-and-tested screening criteria remain the most effective tools for identifying the right tenants. These include:
- Income-to-rent ratio
- Criminal record
- Smoking habits
- Pet ownership
- Address history
- Bankruptcy record
Just remember, your tenant screening criteria cannot include any that may be interpreted as discriminatory by Idaho or Federal law. This means any questions about personal and protected characteristics are absolutely not okay and can land you in serious legal trouble.
Always Ask for Evidence
An important part of finding good tenants is paperwork. Do not take anyone's word for it, even if they seem trustworthy. It is up to you to request any and all paperwork that will verify that the tenant meets your criteria and can actually pay the rent. This should include:
- Social security
- Proof of US citizenship/legal residency
- Insurance contracts
- Bills with former address
These are easy and straightforward pieces of paperwork for any tenant to find, so it should not be an issue for a tenant to produce them for you. While it may take a few days to get the paperwork together, any refusal to provide these commonplace documents should be treated with suspicion. Remember to always de-escalate if the conversation takes a wrong turn.
Speak With Them
Finding good tenants is not just about bureaucracy. It's a person-to-person process. You should always invite your prospective tenant to meet you in person, even if it's just for a casual walk around the property.
This is an ideal way for you to get a sense of the tenants, who they are, and how they live. It's also a chance for them to ask you questions about what they can expect from you as a landlord.
Making the right connection with a tenant will tell you a lot about whether they are the right fit for your property. Even today, nothing compares with face-to-face interaction.
Use a Professional Property Management Service
Tenant screening is a time-consuming, laborious process. It's one that involves strong knowledge of Idaho State and Federal-level housing laws, as well as a strong ability to judge character.
If this all seems like too much for you, we recommend outsourcing this important task to a professional property management service.
For this, we have got you covered. Get in touch to find out how we can help you find and screen the right tenants for your property.