Property Management Blog

Quick Guide to Effective Tenant Screening in Torrance

Pinnacle Property Management - Thursday, September 8, 2022

Renting to the right tenants is key to a successful landlord experience in Torrance. When you rent to the right tenant, you’ll have the peace of mind that your property will be cared for, rent payments will be consistent, and you’ll generally experience fewer issues. 

However, finding a great tenant can’t involve guesswork. An effective tenant screening process will ensure you maximize your chances of landing the right tenants for your Torrance rental property. Keep reading to learn more about screening tenants.  

Know What You’re Looking For in a Dream Tenant 

What attributes will you be looking for in an ideal tenant? Consider things like how much you expect the tenant to be making each month. 

As a general rule of thumb, consider tenants making three times the monthly rental price. If the rental price is $1,500, then consider tenants making at least $4,500 every month. The right income level will ensure the tenant is able to pay rent every month without issues. 

You’ll also want to rent to a tenant that has a background of paying rent on time, caring for their unit, and abiding by the lease terms, among other things. 

Two people in blue shirts shaking hands across a desk

Other good attributes you should be on the lookout for include:

Knowing what your dream tenant looks like will allow you to create a screening process that helps you find that tenant.

Create a Targeted Rental Ad 

Your journey to finding a tenant begins here! Create a targeted rental ad that will help you find your perfect tenants. The following is a list of information that you should include in the ad. 

  • Include the amount you will be charging for rent in the headline. Doing this will help prospective renters know if your rental is within their budget. 

  • Also include the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in the headline. Renters will be searching for rental properties that meet their needs.

  • List any unique amenities the property offers. You should make sure to let prospects know what amenities they should expect, like high ceilings, in-unit washer and dryer, or parking spaces. Include this info in the summary section. 

  • Clearly state any important policies. Do you allow pets on the property? Are there any restrictions around smoking? This can go a long way in saving both you and your tenant valuable time. 

Make sure the ad is succinct but detailed. Also, make sure to include high-quality photos of the property. 

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Start the Pre-screening Process 

After a successful rental marketing campaign, potential tenants will reach out to you with questions. They may want to schedule a property visit or just ask for clarification about the rental. You should use this opportunity to learn more about the prospective tenant.  

Make sure that the tenant screening process is consistent throughout. The last thing you want is a potential discrimination lawsuit. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act protects tenants against discrimination by landlords on the basis of race, color, nationality, ancestry, disability, and citizenship status, among other classes.

The following are some of the questions that you may want to ask them at this stage. 

  • When are you looking to move in? This will let you know whether the tenant is serious or not. Be wary of tenants who want to move in immediately as this could indicate a poor rental history. 

  • Why are you moving? Look for legitimate answers, such as due to a job relocation or to upsize or downsize. 

  • Have you notified your current landlord that you’re looking for a new apartment? Usually, landlords require tenants to notify them prior to terminating their lease. If the tenant hasn’t told their landlord they wish to move, this could indicate a poor tenant-landlord relationship or another potential tenant red flag. 

  • How much do you make a month? Look for prospects that make at least three times the cost of rent. 

  • Have you ever been evicted? You want to find a tenant with no history of prior evictions. This is also a question you can ask the tenant’s past landlords. 

Two people high-fiving over a large moving box

Verify All the Information in the Rental Application Form 

Don’t just take the tenant’s word for it. Require all rental applicants to fill out a rental application form and then verify all the information provided. Read about the important information you should verify below. 

  • The tenant’s employment status. Find out where they are working, how much they are making, and the terms of the employment. You can do that by asking the tenant to provide contact information for their current employer.

  • The tenant’s rental background. Ask the tenant to provide you with the contact information of prior landlords. A current landlord may have an incentive to lie just to get rid of the tenant. Prior landlords have nothing to gain by sharing information about the tenant. Ask whether they paid rent on time, took good care of their property, reported maintenance issues on time, etc. 

  • The tenant’s financial status. How much someone makes at the end of the month may not tell the whole story. This is when checking the tenant’s credit background is important. It can help reveal a ton of financial information that can enable you to make a sound decision. 

Hire a Property Management Company

Are you just starting out as a landlord and don’t know how to go about the tenant screening process? Or, are you an out-of-state investor and would like expert help in finding a great tenant for your Torrance rental property? If so, hiring a property management company might be the best option. 

A good property manager will have proven strategies to ensure you land the right tenant and do so quickly. 

An effective tenant screening strategy is a must-have for any savvy landlord. For expert help, contact Pinnacle Property Management. With over 30 years of experience in helping property owners in the South Bay area, we are the right team to help you succeed. Get in touch today!

Pinnacle Property Management
CA DRE # 01905815
22700 Crenshaw Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90505
Ph: (310) 530-0606
Fax: (310) 626-9786

We are open from 8:30am to 5:00pm M-F.

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