Feb 23, 2012 Phil Burgess
For potential applicants, you should have them put down their social security number, as well as additional references, such as former employers and landlords. If this will be the applicant's first apartment, then you may need to rely solely on their prior work references. Otherwise, gauging their reliability can be much easier if you hear directly from their prior property manager because you can learn about specific concerns regarding the applicant, such as sporadically refusing to pay. With a social security number, a property manager can learn about an applicant's credit history and record of paying bills. Any score in the 700 range is considered good by today's standards. So if you have an applicant that is hovering over the 600 level, you may want to consider offering the space to someone else. However, if that applicant is co-signing with an individual with a great credit score, that may give you more reason to give the apartment to the individual. Do not view the use of their Social Security number as a suspicious or devious tactic. As a property manager, your job is to guarantee incoming rent as much as possible so you can use that money for maintenance, electric and water bills. In addition, you have to ensure the safety of other residents. Background checks
You should run a background screening on every applicant and any co-signers. If the applicant has any history of recent criminal behavior, you must make a judgment call. For instance, an applicant that was pulled over and found with minimal amounts of marijuana ten years ago may not be a completely unacceptable tenant. But, if they were continuously arrested for drug-related issues, you should probably consider another applicant. Think of every individual in your apartment as a magnet: If one applicant is devious, then they may attract similar friends into their apartment. Always put the concerns of your safety and finances ahead of anything else, and exercise caution when considering individuals who have poor credit or a criminal history.