In the hot Santa Cruz real estate market, it’s easy to imagine making a pile of money by renting out your property. But one bad tenant can put a match to that pile of cash and make your profits go up in smoke. It’s easy to think that you have a good ‘people sense’ and that you can spot a con man easily. Unfortunately, many landlords have ended up in court, suing plausible-sounding tenants for back rent and damage to property. There’s a simple way to avoid the difficulty and expense of eviction or a lawsuit. Screening tenants can help weed out prospective tenants with previous evictions or a history of bad checks or missed payments.
Hiring a management company like Blue Sky can help landlords avoid unreliable tenants. The best way to check on a tenant’s history is to run their information through a database like Experian RentBureau. This service is updated every 24 hours and includes information like past rental payments and other rental issues. Combined with a credit history, landlords can get a clear financial picture of a potential tenant. No system is perfect, but these reports, along with tenant interviews and references will give thorough information for making an informed decision. An impartial source, like RentBureau, can also save landlords from renting to the cousin of a friend’s hairdresser, who seems nice enough but left a terrible mess at the last rental. Screening tenants in advance of offering the property will save a lot of hassle and headache down the line.