Tenant screenings are one of the most important steps in managing a property. You can do every other step of the property management process right but if you put the wrong tenant in a home, it can be a disaster.
We look for good tenants for our owners. A good tenant is someone who can afford to pay the rent, will take care of the home and will leave the property in good condition when they vacate. Speaking frankly, some of this is difficult to identify through screening. We have developed a process over the years to screen tenants to identify the good and the bad.
Prior to showing potential tenants your home, our leasing agent will have a conversation with them to determine if they meet our basic criteria, sufficient income and credit. After the showing, if the tenant decides to rent the property, they are required to complete our application process. We require that all adults who will be occupying the home complete and pass the application process. The screening includes criminal, credit and residential history. If they have previously rented, we reach out to prior landlords to confirm the landlord would rent to the tenant again.
A note on credit scores: Credit scores cannot be taken at face value. Our interest is in the tenant’s likelihood to pay their rent. If their score does not meet our criteria but they meet in every other category, we will review the credit history to determine if there are extenuating factors such as medical bills or an old foreclosure or short sale, but not other housing related issues. If we can determine they are a low risk tenant, we may choose to proceed with the tenant. Evictions are a non-starter, previous evictions will be an immediate disqualification. All tenant screening is done in compliance with applicable Fair Housing Laws/Regulations.
Every owner of a rental property has two goals that are somewhat at odds. Number one, they want to maximize their rent. Number two, they want to minimize vacancy. Simple economics tells us that you have to find a balance between these two goals. Underprice your property and you will rent it quickly but leave money on the table and reduce cash flow. Over price your property and you may experience difficulty finding a tenant, which can become costly.
At On Top of the World Property Management, we want to help you find the balance between these two goals. Our team is constantly monitoring the market and tracking the various inputs that drive rents and marketing times. We monitor the marketing times and rents of all residential investment properties in our area.
We will provide you with a comprehensive market analysis that will show you comparable properties to yours, along with the amount those properties rented for and the number of days it took for them to get rented. We will also walk you through our pricing recommendation and pricing process, answering any questions you have related to the rental amount. The final decision is up to you.
The number one reason that tenants move from a property is not rent. It is because of the tenant’s dissatisfaction with the way their maintenance requests are handled. At On Top of the World Property Management, we recognize that tenant turnover is a huge expense for our clients so we have designed our tenant facing processes and systems in a manner that increases tenant retention.
Tenants make maintenance requests through our online tenant portal. The requests are instantly routed to our property management team. Our Property Management team first reviews the request to determine if the issue is something the tenant should be able to address or something that we can troubleshoot with them. We cultivate a library of online tutorials and YouTube videos to help educate the tenants on problems they can address themselves. This video library helps renters troubleshoot minor maintenance issues, saving money for owners and aggravation for tenants.
If the issue cannot be addressed by the tenant, we either send the ticket to our handyman or to a contractor/partner. The handymen we work with are great at completing just about any service that does not require a licensed professional. However, if the issue requires a licensed professional, we assign the work order to one of our amazing contractor partners to complete.
We have implemented an online system that allows for collaboration between our property managers, the contractors and the tenants. Because this system allows for direct communication and scheduling between the tenant and the contractor, it reduces the amount of time it takes to receive, dispatch and complete a maintenance issue. Our innovative Tenant Service System leads to greater tenant satisfaction, keeping tenants happy and maximizing your ROI.
Once a repair or maintenance ticket has been completed, we send the tenant a Satisfaction Survey, which helps us monitor for any hiccups that may be occurring in our processes and enables us to maintain our high standards of excellence.
Many tenants have pets. During the investor on-boarding process, we discuss with the owner their preferred pet policy. For those owners that allow pets, the tenant is required to complete an application for their pet. Additionally, if a tenant has a pet, they are required to pay a non-refundable pet fee to cover the potential damages their pet may cause. There is an important distinction between a pet fee and a pet deposit. A fee is a non-refundable payment, whereas a pet deposit implies the tenant may receive the money back. This fee is returned to the owner at the end of tenancy.