Having a tenancy end badly is something no one wants to have in their rental business. However, it is a reality in the life of a rental property owner. The State of Washington recognizes this and in 2016, the legislature enacted a new law and provided funding for landlords to get compensation when a housing voucher tenant has damaged their property. This is a program that RHAWA helped get through the legislature and we are still helping landlords use the program to mitigate their losses.
Chartrice Young | Tenant Screening Director
When you are screening a prospective tenant, it is important to remember that in addition to checking their credit and background records, you should also verify tenancy and employment. These references will help you look past the credit score and give you more insight into what type of tenant they might be. Landlord and Employment Verification are services that are offered through RHAWA’s Tenant Screening Services. In order to provide this service, we do need a copy of your applicant’s signed rental application. Results of these services may not be immediate as we may not be able to get a hold of the reference contact on the first try.
Some property owners/managers may feel that this is something they would prefer to do on their own but just don’t know what questions to ask. Here are some examples of questions that we ask when verifying tenancy:
• Did this person make timely rent payments?
• Did they maintain the residence?
• Have you ever begun eviction proceedings against this household?
• Would you rent to this person again?
Always remember that while it is a good idea to verify tenancy with the current landlord, verifying their tenant history with the previous landlord is also important. A previous landlord may be a little more forthcoming about what kind of a tenant your applicant is because they are not worried about losing or getting rid of that person as they are no longer in a contract with this person.
When verifying an applicant’s employment the most important information that you want to verify is how long they have been employed with the place of business and what their income is. Oftentimes a company will verify whether or not a person works at their place of business but will not give you any further information. In this case you might ask to see some of your applicant’s most recent paycheck stubs and perhaps a letter of recommendation.
Some businesses will not give you any information unless they have a signed release from the applicant when verifying tenancy and employment. You can provide the business with a copy of the signed rental application. RHAWA’s rental applications are worded so that when an applicant signs the completed document they are authorizing you to check these types of references in addition to credit and background.
The rental housing industry can be very profitable and a pathway to greater wealth. However, this industry is not for everyone. Many people get into the rental business and think it’s as easy as signing a lease, handing over the keys, and then sitting back and collecting the rent.
As you are getting ready to rent out your property, one of the biggest decisions you make is how rent is paid. If you are planning on traveling for long periods of time or live far from your properties, you’ll want to explore some options on how your tenants should pay the rent.
It’s always exciting to be able to invest in the next big neighborhood. Gentrification around city centers usually goes in a pattern that starts with artists and others who need cheap housing that no one else wants. Then their friends and others interested in vibrant culture start to move into the area, particularly if there are older houses that surround the area. Then recent college grads with entry level jobs move into the area. Soon, those recent college grads become professionals bringing in more professionals into the area, particularly if there are single family houses for sale. Now the neighborhood has fairly well gone mainstream. While this process is well understood, another factor that many metropolitan areas, like Seattle, have within their expanding cities is the LGBTAQ+ community.