One of your goals as a landlord is to ensure tenant retention. When a tenant renews their lease, it saves you time and money that you would otherwise spend on filling in a vacancy.
You’ll no longer have to re-market the property, entertain inquiries, and find suitable tenants for your property.
While it’s nice to have your current tenant extend their stay, it’s crucial to conduct thorough tenant screening checks when it comes to renewing lease agreements.
Renewal screening checks help ensure the continued suitability of tenants, protect your property, and maintain a harmonious rental environment.
Landlords need to understand the importance of renewal screening checks and the key areas to focus on. They also need to know the legal considerations that should be kept in mind to avoid issues.
Important Things to Verify When Performing Renewal Screening Checks
Renewal screening checks play a vital role in maintaining a safe and reliable rental property. While your tenants may have been suitable during their initial lease period, circumstances can change over time.
Conducting renewal screening checks helps ensure that tenants remain responsible and meet the necessary criteria to continue residing on your property.
The following are what you need to consider when performing renewal screening checks:
1. Tenant Verification
Renewal screening allows landlords to re-verify the identity and contact information of the tenants. This includes confirming their legal names, addresses, and contact numbers.
2. Rental History
Renewal screening checks should include a review of the tenant's rental history, including payment records, adherence to the lease agreement terms, and any past complaints or conflicts with the neighbors and/or other tenants.
Analyzing their previous conduct provides valuable insights into their suitability as long-term tenants.
3. Financial Stability
It’s important to assess a tenant's financial stability during the renewal process. Check their credit scores, income, and employment status to ensure they’re capable of meeting rental payments (and any increases) in the future.
Financial instability can indicate a higher risk of late payments or potential default.
4. Criminal Background Checks
Renewal screening checks should include a review of a tenant’s criminal records. This helps safeguard other tenants, the property, and the community as a whole.
Ensure you comply with applicable laws and regulations regarding the use of criminal background information.
Benefits of Conducting Renewal Screening Checks
Conducting renewal screening checks offers several benefits for landlords, including the following:
Preventing Property Damage and Misuse
Renewal screening checks allow landlords to assess the tenant's history regarding property care and maintenance. By reviewing their past conduct, landlords can gauge whether the tenant has caused property damage or violated any rules or regulations.
Identifying potential issues beforehand helps landlords take necessary precautions to protect their property from damage and minimize the need for costly repairs.
Maintaining a Safe and Harmonious Environment
Conducting renewal screening checks also helps maintain a safe and harmonious rental environment for all tenants.
By reviewing criminal background records, landlords can identify any potential risks or concerns that could affect the well-being of other tenants or the community.
This proactive approach to tenant screening promotes a sense of security and peace of mind for all occupants.
Thorough screening helps landlords identify potential issues such as a history of late payments or property damage. This information helps you make informed decisions about whether to renew a lease or negotiate new terms.
By avoiding tenants with a higher risk of financial instability or property damage, landlords can mitigate the potential costs associated with evictions, legal disputes, or extensive property repairs.
By conducting checks consistently and fairly, landlords demonstrate their commitment to upholding fair housing laws and non-discriminatory practices. This helps landlords avoid legal complications and ensures a transparent and ethical screening process.
Peace of Mind
Through the verification of tenant information, review of rental history, and assessment of financial stability, landlords gain confidence in their decision to renew a lease.
Thorough screening checks enable landlords to select tenants who have a proven track record of responsible behavior and adherence to lease terms.
This peace of mind stems from the knowledge that tenants are more likely to continue meeting their obligations, leading to a smoother and more stress-free landlord-tenant relationship.
While renewal screening checks are essential, it’s crucial to navigate legal boundaries to ensure compliance with relevant laws. Here are some key legal considerations for landlords:
- Fair Housing Laws: Ensure that you don’t discriminate against tenants based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, or disability. Treat all tenants equally and consistently throughout the screening process.
- Privacy and Data Protection: Comply with applicable data protection laws, such as obtaining necessary consent and securely storing tenant information. Only collect information necessary for evaluating the renewal process and dispose of it once the process is complete.
- Tenant Consent: Obtain written consent before conducting renewal screening checks. Clearly communicate the purpose of the checks and the information that’ll be collected. Documenting consent provides legal protection and demonstrates transparency.
- State and Local Laws: Familiarize yourself with state and local laws that govern tenant screening. Some jurisdictions may have specific requirements or restrictions regarding the type and scope of information that can be considered during the renewal process.
Renewal screening checks are essential for landlords to keep their rental business profitable. Remember to approach renewal screening with fairness, consistency, and a commitment to upholding the law.
By doing so, you can protect your property, create a harmonious rental environment, and minimize potential risks associated with leasing your property.
When in doubt, it’s best to work with a professional property manager to ensure that everything is well taken care of. If you have any questions, reach out to one of our skilled professionals at Rent Easy! We’ll make your life as a landlord so much easier for you!