As apartment demand in SoCal goes up, landlords keep getting more rental applications to sift through. So how do you find the right one?
The answer is simple: have a reliable rental application approval process. In general, processing an application can take a few hours to a few days. It all depends on the questions you ask—and how thorough you are.
Want to ensure your rental application process can separate the wheat from the chaff? If so, here are three key things you should always do.
1. Confirm the Applicant's Income
A big part of your rental application should focus on employment. Having a stable income is a big plus when it comes to finding tenants.
Start by asking for details about the applicant's current work situation. That includes information such as their job title, start date, and so on. You can also ask about previous jobs to establish a history of employment.
Next, ask for the applicant's proof of income. There are plenty of ways to verify that, from W2s to bank statements. If they don't provide proof of income, try reaching out directly to their employer.
Of course, many prospective tenants have alternative sources of income. That can include inheritance, annuity, severance payments, and so on. Every little bit makes it more likely they'll be able to cover rent consistently.
2. Conduct Credit and Background Checks
Credit and background checks are a key part of the tenant screening process. They help you find better tenants while only taking a few hours to perform.
First things first: you'll need the applicant's permission to run these checks. Your rental application form should have a specific section for this purpose. Have the tenant sign it and answer related questions such as:
- Have you ever been convicted of a crime?
- Have you ever declared bankruptcy?
- Have you ever broken a lease?
These are potential red flags, but they shouldn't be the only reason to dismiss an application. Think of these questions as giving a heads-up they'll appear on the check. It tells you if the applicant is honest with you.
The two main issues a credit check can uncover are outstanding debts and prior evictions. Both of these are serious indicators that the applicant may struggle to pay rent on time.
3. Contact the Applicant's References
With so many types of tenants out there, hard data can only tell you so much. If you want to know more about them, ask them for references.
References come in two forms: personal and professional. The best person to ask for personal references is the applicant's previous landlord. Don't accept references from family members and friends.
Employer references can also be a dealbreaker for some tenants. That's particularly true if they have inconsistent income. You may also want to ask the employer about the applicant's ability to follow rules.
Speeding up Your Rental Application Approval Process
At the end of the day, finding good tenants is about getting the full picture. Even in a high-demand area like Southern California, it's best not to skip any steps. The above guide contains all the basics you should go through!
Need professional assistance with your rental application approval process? Our property management experts can help you make sense of it all! Contact us here for more information on our services.