Oak Trust Property Management Blog

How to Screen Tenants in Charleston, SC | Property Management Education

Danielle Oak Trust Properties - Thursday, March 23, 2017

So, when you finally receive an interested party and they fill out the application, you might feel that because you liked the prospective tenants and you’ve gathered their information, it’s easiest and best to just let them move in without a thorough screening. That’s a big mistake, and it’s a mistake a lot of people make. You want to make sure that the person you’re potentially renting to is qualified and will be a good tenant. Today we’re talking about how to screen tenants and what you can do to make sure you’re renting to someone who will pay on time and take good care of your home. 


Credit checks are a big part of tenant screening because they give you a valuable and helpful snapshot of an applicant’s financial history. If they have struggled to pay in the past or had collections reported to their account, you’ll see that. You will also see any housing debt. So, if they left any property with a balance that has not been paid, you’ll want to know that before you let them move in. 


Background Check

One of the best ways to screen tenants is with a complete background check, which includes criminal history. You want to look for looming issues because you don’t want any potential legal trouble down the line. 

Income and Employment 

Verify your potential tenant’s income and employment. You want to make sure they earn at least three times the monthly rent. This is the industry standard. Collect their most recent pay stubs for tenant verification of income, and call their employer. Make sure it’s a real employer and not a friend. 

Check Rental History

A major part of tenant screening is checking their previous history with landlords and properties. Look for past evictions and make sure there’s a record of a good payment history. You don’t want to hear about past property damage from former landlords. On the credit report, there is a list of addresses associated with the person. Dive into those and if they didn’t list an address that you see on their credit report, ask why. Utilize your court system’s websites. You can see eviction filings and other lawsuits. 

Benefits of Rental Application Screening

With a consistent screening process, you can make an informed decision based off facts and not whether or not you really liked someone. People lie on their applications. This happens all the time. So, it’s important to know the resources that are available to you. Set a policy and a practice and follow it consistently. You want your investment to be taken care of, and you don’t want to experience any loss of rental income with someone not capable of paying rent.  

Investing the time to properly qualify someone will pay off. It will reduce unexpected turnover, help eliminate any kind of delinquent payment issues, and it will help you make sure your property is going to be well taken care of. This home is probably your biggest investment, so it’s worth the time and effort to do these things. 

If you have any questions about how to screen a tenant or anything pertaining to Charleston property management, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Oak Trust Property Management.


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