How to Screen Potential Tenants

Amy Simpson

When potential tenants submit their tenancy applications on a property, ensuring all of the required paperwork is completed properly is imperative. Good property management agencies will have refined procedures in place to ensure that they find quality tenants for their landlords. An agency must screen potential tenants with great care. Once the screening process has been finalised, the property management agency will then make their recommendations to the landlord. The landlord always has the final decision about whether or not to approve the application from the potential tenants.

Blake Ericksen is a Property Manager at Calibre Real Estate, he processes numerous tenancy applications on a weekly basis. When asked why it’s important to screen potential tenants correctly and ensure they submit their correct paperwork first time round, Blake told us that “If potential tenants want to arm themselves with the best possible chances of having their application approved, then it’s in their best interest to dot their i’s and cross their t’s. If the submission is incomplete, then we need to stop working on that application while we wait for the required information. That’ll mean that we’ll start processing the next application on the list. We could fully process and have the landlord approve another application while the first applicant is still preoccupied with finalising their paperwork.”

The 4 Step Process to Screen Potential Tenants

  1. Step # 1 : Tenancy Database Checks

    The applicants’ details are searched against tenancy databases to ensure that they haven’t been blacklisted by another agent due to non-payment of rent, extreme damage to property, among other things. We also do a database search to ensure that prospective tenants haven’t become bankrupt recently. We complete this search on each application to ensure that we aren’t putting problematic tenants into our owners’ properties. These databases are one of the few ways that agents can screen against undesirable candidates who need to lie on their application to be approved for a property.

  2. Step # 2 : Employment Checks

    We contact the employer the applicant has nominated as their reference in their application. We need to ensure that the applicant is employed in the capacity, with the same pay, and for the same length of time that is stated on the application form. Additionally, we require 2 recent payslips to prove their employment is legitimate. We do these checks to ensure that they’re both putting truthful information on the application, and that the applicant has stable & ongoing work while on a lease agreement. We then use the payslips to test their income suitability.

  3. Step # 3 : Income Suitability Test

    This one is fairly simple, we test the suitability of the applicants’ income to the property. As a general rule, the applicant shouldn’t be paying more than 30% of their take home pay in rent. Otherwise they may face shortfalls in their budget. We simply find 30% of their net weekly pay (or average pay if they work casually), and see if it meets the portion of the rent they will need to pay at the property. We do this to ensure that the applicant will be able to pay for the property throughout the whole duration of their lease. And that they aren’t going to face financial hardship due to renting a property outside of their affordability range.

  4. Step # 4 : Rental References

    We contact the applicants’ past two agencies to ask for a rental reference. These references must fit a set standard, and can’t be too general. As such, we ask questions regarding how the property was kept. We also ask if rent was paid on time and how the vacate process went. Fortunately, bad rental references are few and far between. We conduct rental reference checks to ensure that the applicants have taken care of previous properties they’ve lived in. We’ll also check that they made all of their rental payments on time, every time.

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If you have a property in South East QLD that you would like to discuss with one of the team members at Calibre, then please feel free to call our office at (07) 3367 3411 or lodge an enquiry on the “Property Management” page on our website.

Screen Potential Tenants

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