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  • Writer's pictureThe Jennifer Jones Team

Becoming a Landlord? Here Are Tips for Best Practices When it Comes to Tenant Screening!

Tip #1! Use a Realtor to list your property! Your agent works for YOU and will use their due diligence in searching for the right tenant and ensure that finding the right tenant will go as smoothly as possible. There are many steps your real estate agent can take to avoid putting you (the landlord) in a difficult situation. With a thorough tenant screening process in place, real estate agents can detect potentially bad tenants before they move in and issues arise.

Decide your screening criteria before advertising your property for rent. Knowing what type of renter you seek is crucial. This criteria should include the person’s monthly income and rental-history standards. Generally, it’s best to ensure that your tenant earns three times the monthly rent and doesn’t move properties every year or so. Market for qualified applicants by working with your agent to advertise a comprehensive listing that lays out all the details. The last thing you want to do is waste your time or someone else’s. Hence, the information you share about the rental should entice qualified applicants and deter unqualified ones.

Pre-screen candidates over the phone using the Rental Application Form. Agents will collect information such as the occupant’s full name(s), anticipated move-in dates, length of time at current residence, reason for moving, income, if they are smokers, or have pets or other people moving into the property. It’s important to note that the pre-screening process for candidates can be grueling; however, it's a vital step in obtaining a good renter.

Assess candidates on a Zoom or In-Person meeting. Getting to meet with candidates is an important step in the tenant screening process. Through this interaction you'll get a better understanding of who your tenants are and enable you to know where the applicants are at with the change they are about to do. It's vital that the landlord engages in conversation to have a better idea of who they'll be renting to. It’s always a great practice to ask open-ended questions to fill in information gaps. This gives the candidates the freedom and space to answer in as much detail as they like, too. Some acceptable questions include, “Do you like the neighbourhood/local area?” Or “Are you originally from here?”

Be sure to know and follow the law. Agents and landlords must ensure that they conduct tenant screening within the scope of the law. For instance, you must have the person’s permission before pulling a credit check on someone. The other thing that must be considered are human rights laws. In other words, asking about religious beliefs, ethnic or racial backgrounds, sexual orientation, disabilities, and marital status is discriminatory. Moreover, applicants do not have to provide their Social Insurance Number, and real estate agents do not need this number to run a credit check. It’s also worth noting that landlords are not allowed to refuse applicants with pets in some provinces. So, it’s vital to know your federal and provincial laws. Your real estate agent will be a big help with this!

Now you can find the right tenant with confidence!

Written by Anyela Marin-Betancourt (

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