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How Tenant Screening Platforms like SingleKey Help First-time Landlords

Key Takeaways

  • The most consequential task of a landlord is to screen prospective tenants. This involves verifying an applicant's identity, rental history, income and employment, and overall compatibility with the landlord's requirements.
  • With a professional tenant screening platform, you can instantly collect all the essential information needed to choose a new tenant wisely and protect your property.
  • Tenant screening platforms like SingleKey offer valuable tools like accurate background and credit checks to evaluate rental applicants like a pro.

Published on Jun 19, 2023 | Updated on Jun 19, 2023

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First-time landlords can find everything they need to vet potential renters with the right tenant screening tools that provide instant and accurate background reports.

SingleKey’s Tenant Report provides one record to help pinpoint the top contenders out of a stack of applications, ensuring your investment property is in good hands.

Whether you’re new to property management or have had the unfortunate experience of renting to delinquent occupants, this guide will break down how tenant screening platforms like SingleKey will serve you in your pursuit to find an ideal tenant.

What is a tenant screening platform?

A tenant screening platform is designed to help consolidate all of the information a landlord collects during the screening process. It’s a place where landlords can zero in on pertinent background information. Some features of a tenant screening platform include:

  • Downloadable rental applications
  • Rent reporting
  • Instant reports
  • Criminal background check
  • Income insight
  • Landlord tips
  • User-friendly tools for first-time landlords

How to use SingleKey’s tenant screening platform

There are two ways to get started with the screening process on SingleKey. First, new users should create an account. Once you have logged into your account, click the “New Credit Check” button at the top right corner of the page. 

Once logged in, you have two options to request a tenant report: invite the tenant to enter their information, or you can enter the tenant’s information yourself. 

Learn more about how to screen tenants with SingleKey in this step-by-step guide.

What’s included in a SingleKey Tenant Report?

Along with a customized rundown of the applicant’s scores, including the monthly debt payments, credit score, rent-to-income ratio, and SingleKey’s summary of the combined scores, you’ll receive extensive information on the applicant that includes their personal identification information, employment history, and residential history.

Explore SingleKey’s sample report for full details and learn how you can apply this vital background information in your tenant selection process.

The benefits of SingleKey’s tenant screening platform

Many laws and reforms prohibit certain tenant screening questions. SingleKey offers a free pre-screening form and templates of appropriate pre-screening questions that will help you collect only the most essential information so you can choose a tenant wisely.

There are many benefits to using SingleKey’s tenant screening platform, including:

  • Taking the guesswork out of finding the ideal tenant, especially for first-time landlords
  • Reducing and streamlining administrative work for landlords
  • Providing accurate and fair information to verify the applicant’s details
  • Collecting the essential data needed to make an informed decision in one easily accessible place

Find out more about the benefits of using SingleKey’s tenant screening platform.

Why is tenant screening important? 

If you own an investment property and are entertaining the idea of becoming a landlord, there are many pros and cons to consider. While renting out an investment property can be a lucrative job in ideal circumstances, leasing to unreliable and disruptive tenants can be a headache-inducing money pit for property owners.

All of the common questions that emerge when interviewing a prospective tenant are answered in a tenant screening report. We’ll explore the challenges of property management and explain how tenant screening platforms can help you screen tenants like a pro. 

Improving tenant selection 

The tenant screening process involves checking each applicant’s financial history and other relevant information within the boundaries of local and state laws, including:

  • Confirming the applicant’s identity
  • Corroborating employment history and income 
  • Pulling credit scores and credit history reports
  • Confirming their ability to make rent payments on time
  • Learning about their rental history and experiences with previous landlords
  • Collecting and summarizing criminal background information

Choosing reliable tenants

A significant part of the tenant screening report is the credit report, which contains information on debts, provides a credit score, and prompts the following questions for you to consider:

  • Does this person have a history of paying bills on time?
  • How much debt do they have?
  • What is their primary income, and do they have other sources of income?

The answers to these questions will surface in a tenant screening report and help you determine whether you think the person is reliable, will pay rent on time, or if their rent-to-income ratio will be enough to cover rent.

Credit score considerations

Each time you pull a credit history report, you should consider all of the contributing factors of the credit check. For example, suppose one applicant has a high credit score, a high income, and stellar references, but they have a significant student loan debt with multiple student loan forbearance notes. This hypothetical applicant may not be considered a risk if they have a good income ratio and everything else checks out favourably.

While a single debt may stand out negatively, you must look at the bigger picture to compare how it all adds up. This information is valuable because you can always follow up with the applicant with further questions regarding the debt information that came to light.

Ultimately, it’s up to the property manager’s discretion whether they will consider someone as a candidate. Essentially, you’re looking at how each applicant stacks up financially and how reliable they were in making rent payments in the past. The top candidate is, of course, the safest bet to ensure on-time rent payments.

Managing the risk of property damage 

Before any further steps in the rental process are taken, it’s vital to incorporate a background check in the screening process. This check could reveal various types of criminal records that a landlord should consider carefully.

Once the screening process is complete, the application is approved, the lease is signed, and the vacant property is inspected to document any damages. Typically, insurance companies will cover weather-related property damage, leaks, and fire-related damages.

Preventing eviction

Screening with background checks helps reduce the risk of eviction significantly. It’s also up to the landlord to establish clear communication when setting expectations for keeping the property safe, paying rent on time, applying late fees, and respecting other nearby tenants.

If you’re new to property management, the best thing you can do, aside from incorporating screening tools when reviewing potential tenants’ applications, is to become well-versed with discrimination and eviction laws. A proper tenant screening platform can help educate first-time landlords with a wealth of resources and information.

FAQ: Tenant screening fundamentals

Before renting to a potential tenant, the three essential items to consider are income verification, financial standing, and rental history. Note that while these three factors are important, it’s wise to consider all available information about the prospective renter.

Discover the best tenants by using the information found in tenant screening reports. This may include details about the applicant’s  financial standing, credit history, criminal background, employment, and rental history. This will allow you to do your due diligence as you verify the information found in the report.

SingleKey is a tenant screening platform with three primary features available to landlords: the Tenant Report to help screen tenants, Rent Collection to automate rent payments, and the Rent Guarantee Program to cover the risks associated with managing rental properties. The Tenant Report offers a comprehensive, easy-to-understand report on potential tenants. It summarizes vital aspects of the tenant’s financial history, credit history, employment history, and rent-to-income ratio.

Our final thoughts

The rental process is stressful, especially when it comes to choosing a tenant who suits your requirements. Tenant screening platforms like SingleKey streamline the rental process, and with SingleKey’s Tenant Report, you’ll have the most reliable information to take the manual effort and stress out of filling a rental vacancy. 

Learn more about Tenant Report

Learn more about Tenant Screening Report

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4. How Tenant Screening Platforms like SingleKey Help First-time Landlords
Library Books IconOther Blog Posts In This Series
  1. How to Pre-screen Tenants Using SingleKey
  2. How to Screen Tenants with SingleKey
  3. The Key Benefits of SingleKey’s Tenant Screening Service
  4. How Tenant Screening Platforms like SingleKey Help First-time Landlords
  5. Tenant Credit Checks: How SingleKey Safeguards Against Rental Fraud
  6. Why SingleKey Provides the Best Tenant Screening Service
  7. 5 Reasons to Switch to SingleKey’s New App
  8. Equifax vs. TransUnion: What a Landlord Needs to Know

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