Thanks for choosing the Stanaker Team, we look forward to assisting you in finding suitable tenants for your home! We have successfully helped lease hundreds of homes, so we know what to look for and will gladly handle all of the details for you.
Our goal is to take the hassle out of your hands, fully screen tenants, advise you based on our findings and to ultimately lease your home quickly to tenants that are most likely to fulfill their lease obligation. If we do our job right, the additional monthly expense of property management (which we don’t do) will not likely be necessary.
Prospective Tenants (all adults) must pay $40 each for a tenant screening. The system we use will give us an automatic recommendation to Accept or Deny. Here are the key elements of a tenant screening, which we will share with you:
- Credit Report & Credit Score
- Nationwide Criminal Background Check
- Nationwide Eviction History Report
In general, we suggest the following requirements before pre-screening prospective tenants:
- 580+ credit score. (580 is the minimum score to purchase a home with FHA financing.) Below 550 is high risk and is usually rejected outright. 550-580 is still a considerable risk but this can be mitigated by requiring a double deposit. Some landlords will accept a regular deposit + last month’s rent up front in lieu of a double deposit.
- Income of at least 3-4 x the rent amount. For gross income, we want to see at least 4 x the rent amount and with net income, we want to see at least 3 x the rent amount.
- No felonies. Sometimes we will see things like misdemeanors from past mistakes. People make mistakes, we just don’t want tenants who keep repeating them.
- No broken leases or evictions. Only if the person has taken the appropriate steps to remedy the issue and can prove it, then we may consider that they’ve learned from their costly mistake and that it won’t happen again.
- Good rental history. Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. Sometimes we encounter first-time renters but we don’t want to exclude any good candidates.
- Pets: We don’t recommend accepting domestic or exotic pets. Even the best pets can cause a lot of property damage, especially lingering odors (very hard to remedy.) If you would like to accept pets, we would recommend that they be under 40 lbs. If you want to accept most pets regardless of size, it’s up to you – either way, we recommend that they not be on our Aggressive Dog Breed List due to liability purposes.
- Pet Deposits: They usually range from about $250-$500 per pet, depending on size and type of pet. This amount can be fully refundable, non-refundable or a combination of both. We would not recommend “pet rent.” If you want to go that route, you can effectively do the same thing by making part of the pet deposit non-refundable.
- Renter’s Insurance: We would recommend that you require tenants to carry renter’s insurance and provide proof. This is another good way of mitigating potential liability.
- Lease terms: We recommend that you offer a one year minimum lease to attract the most prospects. Some tenants are willing to sign an 18, 24 or even 36-month lease if we ask. Your property value and consequently your property taxes increase an average of 3-4% per year but the cost of the home being vacant, even for a short time, is much higher. Long leases are great if you can account for the increasing property costs.
- Smoking: We recommend that no smoking be allowed. The lease states that there’s no smoking on the entire property unless otherwise agreed to. Smoke is another odor that’s very hard to remedy. If you want to allow smoking outside only, it must be added to the Special Provisions section of the lease.
- Incomplete Applications: This raises red flags. Sometimes, it’s just a missed item but if we can’t fully process an application, it does us no good. Prospective Tenants are required to fill out a complete standard Residential Lease Application so we can verify the information in a timely manner. We also require a copy of their Driver’s License or I.D. and Social Security card to verify the tenant’s identity.
- Bankruptcies: We recommend acceptance only if (1) the bankruptcy was discharged over 2 years ago and credit has been re-established, (2) the bankruptcy was discharged less than 6 months ago and they have little to no debt, (3) they filed due to an unexpected issue rather than financing their lifestyle with credit, and (4) they have only filed for bankruptcy once.