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6 Questions to Ask During the Tenant Screening Process in Tampa

System - Tuesday, June 7, 2022
Property Management Blog

Rent in Tampa Bay is rising faster than one's household income. 

Since 2000, rent has increased by 113% while income lagged behind.

Consequently, renters in Tampa have a higher rent-to-income ratio than the national average at 25.35%. 

Knowing these statistics hammers home the importance of doing tenant background checks when you're involved in the Tampa real estate market. 

Knowing how to screen tenants is important if you hope to find responsible, qualified tenants to occupy your Tampa rentals. Keep reading to learn the six questions you should ask your potential tenants during tenant screening.

1. What is Your Monthly Income? 

How many times have you heard a landlord voice concerns about a tenant's ability to pay rent? It's one of the top concerns which is why it's important to get this information from potential renters. Their monthly income should be three times the monthly rent

Get copies of pay stubs and an employment reference to verify income. 

2. Any Criminal History? 

Every tenant screening should include a criminal check. Sometimes it's considered more important than a credit check, though you always want to do both.

You need to pay careful attention to previous felonies, sex crimes, and other major public criminal offenses. 

3. Do You Currently Rent? 

Finding out their current living situation is relevant because you want to know why they're moving, if there was a problem with the other landlord, and how the timing will work out for moving into your property. 

4. Ask About Rental History 

Taking a look at rental history gives you some insight into how they've handled the rental process in the past. Find out how long they lived in their current home or apartment. Have they ever broken a lease? Have they ever been evicted? Can you use a current or former landlord as a reference? 

5. Have You Filed For Bankruptcy? 

If a potential tenant has filed for bankruptcy, it'll show up on their credit report. If the bankruptcy case is settled and the potential tenant has a stable, well-paying job, you might consider renting to them. If they're still waiting for the court to approve their debt obligation, it's probably too risky to rent to them. 

6. Are You a Smoker? 

Smoke can cause extensive property damage. Have your smoking policy in place and include those details in your rental or lease agreement. Potential tenants might not be honest but you can usually smell smoke on them or notice other signs. 

Tenant Screening Process 

A thorough and complete tenant screening is vitally important if you want to get the right tenants in your rental property. It will mean fewer headaches for you in the long run. Your property will suffer less wear and tear and will be more profitable with reliable, trustworthy tenants. 

Do you know who can help you with your property management needs? HomeRiver Group® Tampa stands apart from other property management companies. We specialize in market analytics, provide an in-house maintenance service, and advise and assist clients looking to buy, sell, or renovate their investments. Contact us today