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Screening During Tough Times | Ashburn Property Management Tips

When the going gets tough, the tough get going—but so do scam artists. While there have been stories of great bravery and heroic deeds during this time, there has been an equally opposing wave of despicable—even vile—acts. Some of the worst can be seen in the rise of scams concerning the novel Coronavirus and stimulus-based aid. At RentSimple, we know the former horrors we mentioned don't apply to most of the great people who live in your great spaces. However, we also know as your Ashburn property management partner that now is a time for vigilance.

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While there is tremendous merit in hoping for the best, it pairs well with planning for the worst. As a property manager, this means reinforcing your need to continue screening your renters during tough times—no matter how great they appear on paper. Continuing to screen every single applicant like you would have before disaster struck is not only crucial for protecting you and your great spaces. This process ensures that the great people you do approve went through the same unbiased process as everyone else. 

It is never more true than during a crisis that property owners need to be alert and prepared to address whatever comes their way—and this still includes the dreaded Professional Tenant. Great people will take care of your great spaces and lead to lasting returns; Professional Tenants will destroy your properties and your income as soon as they cross the threshold. This makes continued and diligent screening crucial.

A quick note: This article is not intended as legal advice. However, it can be a great introduction to steps landlords can take to safely manage maintenance. If you're facing a situation that requires legal counsel, work with a competent attorney, or get in touch with the Ashburn property management experts at RentSimple!

Don’t Do Anything Abruptly

Some people have a knee-jerk reaction and want to bring applicants into their properties right away to increase their returns without the proper screening. This usually results in problems because you don’t know who you’re really opening your property to! It’s essential to take the time to have prospective tenants screened. If you’re in a vulnerable situation and desperate for tenants, scam artists will pick up on that and take advantage of this in a time of desperation—they've made it their living!

This means using more than your intuition and business sense when screening your applicants, as well: if you're in a financial bind, it's easy to look no further than the security deposit. There’s also the temptation of regular, monthly cash flow that may cause you to accept anyone as a tenant upfront without doing your due diligence.

This is one (of many) reasons why we recommend that property owners turn to the professionals for their screening needs. Working with an expert Ashburn property management company to handle applicants that come your way during this time ultimately means that you install a safeguard for your great spaces and lasting returns—before you're ever at risk of encountering a Professional Tenant.

Evictions are a costly process, and often the last thing any property owner wants to have to go through even when times are good. During a crisis, you may not be able to evict due to court shutdowns or moratoriums on evictions, like we saw with COVID-19. With that in mind, your best line of defense is to route problems at the start by thoroughly screening each applicant with the same care you always have. When you're under pressure, leaving this in the hands of an unbiased professional is always a smart move for your great spaces.

However, how do the professionals approach the screening process? At RentSimple, we begin by establishing criteria with you to identify your ideal renter. We also ask for some of the following information to get a better idea of who your applicant is outside of their application. This kind of buffer between you and the sensitive information your future renters provide during this process is why entrusting screening to your Ashburn property management partner is a smart move.

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Collect Identifying Information

This includes a copy of a driver's license or state-issued ID, social security number, and date of birth. In some cases, it also means conducting a social security fraud search.

Credit Information

This includes investigating the applicant's credit score and summary, as well as checking prior credit inquiries. Your property management partner will also check to see if there are extensive past-due payments waiting on credit cards. Additionally, they will check current and previous delinquencies, collections, and public records.

Rental Information

A professional has access to tools that can identify whether there are existing broken leases by accessing the national eviction lookup. They will also do a verification of the applicant's previous addresses and get in touch with former landlords—a crucial step that many property owners neglect.

Criminal Check

You definitely will want to know if your tenants have a relevant criminal history, although you cannot refuse an applicant based solely on their record. Your property management partner will also check the national sex offender registry and conduct a national criminal alias search.

Employment Information

Verifying employment is critical to make sure that the great people applying for your great spaces will be able to uphold their obligations each month when the rent is due.

Rely on RentSimple to Safeguard Your Great Spaces!

It's easy to begin finding great people for your great spaces when you rely on the Ashburn property management experts at RentSimple! We provide thorough screening services as part of our many offerings for the property owners we serve, so you won’t have to worry about accidentally placing a Professional Tenant during a rush to fill your property. When we place your renters, you also have the peace of mind that accompanies knowing you're protected by our many industry-leading guarantees!

Curious what else we can handle for you during these challenging times? Get started by perusing our free resources to gather more insight into what we manage for you! We recommend our Collecting Rent in a Crisis Handbook right now for landlords that are struggling.

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