In part 2 of our series about homes for rent in Ventura, we left off with how you can advertise and find prospective tenants for your home. Now that you have your phone ringing with people wanting to rent your home, what do you do now? The last thing that you want to do is give the keys to your home to the first person you call. Today’s post will help you make sure that you screen and find the right tenant for your home, as well as walk you through the application process. If you are going to be using a property management company, most (if not all) of these items should be taken care of by them.
Pre-Screening Tenants for Homes for Rent in Ventura
In order to save time and hassle in showing your homes for rent in Ventura to each person that calls, you want to make sure you develop a process for pre-screening tenants. By doing this, you are hoping to find the best prospective tenants over the phone so that you can follow-up with a select few of them that fit your tenant criteria. The best way to do an objective pre-screening is to have a defined set of criteria for your homes for rent in Ventura. For every caller, you then want to explain that criteria over the phone with them and ask them if they meet each and every one of them. Some examples of criteria that you can use are:
– minimum monthly income
– good credit history
– employment history and proof of employment
– good references
Once you decide on the criteria you will be using, stick with them and don’t rent to anyone who doesn’t meet them. It may be saddening to hear a sob story from someone who just lost their job and desperately needs a place to live, but what are you going to do if this person is unable to find a job or pay you rent for several months. While most of us would like to lend a helping hand when we can, you can’t help anyone if you cannot collect rent and then are unable to pay the mortgage on your homes for rent in Ventura.
California is very strict when it comes to unlawful discrimination by landlords. Before advertising and screening tenants, be sure that you are familiar with California law and what you can and can’t say/do. Information about unlawful discrimination can be found at the California Department of Consumer Affairs.
Showing Homes for Rent in Ventura
There are various ways that you can go about showing your home to the prospective tenants that pass your pre-screening process. If you have only a few people to show the property to, it might not be too big of a hassle to set up appointments with each person individually. However, you may want to set a specific time period and day if there are going to be more than a handful of showings. Although this takes a bit away from the personal touch, it can show the prospective tenants that your homes for rent in Ventura are in high demand and that they may miss out if they don’t make a quick decision. If you are going to do individual appointments, you may ask that each applicant drive by the house first so that you don’t waste time meeting people who won’t end up renting because of the location.
The Application Process for Homes for Rent in Ventura
It is probably best if you hand out applications to everyone while you are showing your homes for rent in Ventura and have them fill it out there. Remember, your home is sitting vacant while you are looking to fill it, and every day that it sits vacant is money that is coming out of pocket for mortgage and other expenses. By not recommending that the applicants fill out the application on the spot, it will add unnecessary days to the amount of time it takes to get your home occupied. Also, some people recommend that you give an application to every prospective tenant that you show your home to. That way you can avoid any appearance of discrimination whatsoever.
As for the application itself, you can find various websites that offer free templates for you to use. Whichever application you chose to use, you probably want to make sure that the following items are included
– Names of everyone who will be occupying the home
– Social security numbers
– Date of births
– Best contact phone numbers
– Secondary phone number
– Previous rental history
– Current employer information
– Signature block
Whether you choose to charge an application fee is up to you. If you do decide to do so, California law states that the application fee cannot legally be more than your out-of-pocket costs for screening an applicant and can never be higher than $44.51 (as of this post). Out of pocket costs could include checking personal references and obtaining credit reports. The law also states that you must give the applicants an itemized receipt of the expenses and return any unused portion of the fee. The California Department of Consumer Affairs details what you can and cannot do with regards to application fees, so make sure you are doing it correctly if you do decide to charge a fee. Once you receive the applications back and before you move onto the background checks, you should look over the applications and confirm that they meet all of your criteria. Sometimes an applicant may have misunderstood some of the criteria and other times they may by hoping that you don’t notice, but you shouldn’t waste your time and their money if they don’t meet the minimum criteria. If you notice any discrepancies, you should call them to make sure they didn’t make a mistake on their application, and if not, explain to them that they did not meet the criteria and that you will be returning their application fee.