Introduction

"The Small Landlord's Guide to Tenant Screening" was put together to help landlords across America seeking no-nonsense advice from other landlords on how to properly and legally screen applicants.

This is our first in the series of Small Landlord Guides that will be hitting the shelves throughout 2015 — FREE to all Small Landlords.

Revolutionizing the Industry

Being a Small Landlord in America isn't easy today. With nearly 40 million Small Landlords in the United States and very little education on how to screen applicants properly, now was the time to release this e-book. The FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) governs how small landlords can screen applicants. There are many laws that the Small Landlord must abide by, and it can get overwhelming rather quickly! The direct-to-consumer model is another approach allowed by the FCRA to give Small Landlords like you the tools needed to properly evaluate applicants. No on-site inspection needed, no hefty fees to pay, just straight-forward advice on how to use the Internet's best tools to screen applicants quickly.

Cost of Screening

Many Small Landlords often overlook tenant screening. They figure it's too expensive or time consuming and most rely on gut instinct. We believe that gut instinct serves us well in many situations. We also believe in Ronald Reagan's famous line: "Trust, but verify." Our guide gives Small Landlords the industry statistics on why you can't afford to skip tenant screening during the application process. The cost of NOT screening is far greater than the cost of screening your applicants. Besides, you can pass most of the costs onto the applicant these days anyhow. Our book breaks down the figures and opens your eyes to the REAL COST of not screening applicants with real-world examples of Small Landlords that were burned by bad tenants.

Jump into the 21st Century

Although our book promotes the use of VerticalRent as the cornerstone of your tenant screening process, we won't discount the value of other tools in the industry available to the Small Landlord. The bottom line is that we want the Small American Landlord to prosper and build a nest egg of wealth over time. America is not only the land of opportunity when it comes to buying and holding rental properties, it's the technological hub of the world! We have more software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools and companies than any other country on this planet. Americans know how to innovate and there is an entire industry building free to low-cost tools for the Small American Landlord. In this book, we show you how to take advantage of these tools to make life a little less overwhelming. We guide you in how to leverage your smartphone to improve tenant collaboration while screening applicants on-the-go. Our Small American Landlord series of e-books will cover other topics like Small Landlord Accounting, Lease Agreements, Advertising, and Evictions.

Prohibited Questions

If you are a green Small American Landlord, then you likely need a little coaching on what you CAN'T ask an applicant, former employer, or former landlord of an applicant. It's easy to stick your foot in your mouth a few times. In this guide, we also coach you on why SMS texting with your applicants or tenants might be a bad idea. You need to keep a healthy level of distance between the applicant and yourself to maintain harmony and balance. If you’re too friendly, you get burned. If you’re too strict, you get burned. The key is balance, and we give you some guidelines to achieve that with your tenants. As a Small Landlord, you need to understand how to strike this balance with your tenants so that they realize you mean business at all times and that you're a law-abiding citizen just trying to live the American Dream.

Why read this book?

Most of the Small Landlords in America are men and women between the ages of 25 and 65. There are over 40 million of us and counting. We come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors. Very few of us understand the concept of direct-to-consumer tenant screening and realize that we're not reliant on the local Apartment Association to run a credit report on an applicant. We have other choices that are often much cheaper and more convenient.

The one thing we all have in common and that is we've worked VERY HARD to accumulate the rental properties we own. Most of us have full-time day jobs. We can't sacrifice our profit margins to hire a property management company for the 1 to 25 units we own. We're do-it-yourself types. That means do-it-yourself applicant screening, do-it-yourself financials, do-it-yourself maintenance on your rentals. “The Small Landlord's Guide to Tenant Screening” is the first in a series designed to provide no-nonsense advice to you. It's free, so why not give it a quick read?

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Reveals techniques for:

  • Retrieving online rental apps and credit reports electronically
  • How to avoid common background check traps and get accurate results
  • The ONE key indicator of an applicant’s income vs. rent liability
  • How to confirm an applicant’s identity with a social security trace
  • How to objectively evaluate tenant screening providers
  • The truth about checking references: How to detect fake references
  • Avoid the BIG Mistake - what NOT to ask an applicant!
  • Know what to ask prior landlords, before you call
  • Verifying prior employment with LinkedIn
  • Vital ingredients to establishing common criteria for evaluation
  • Reasons why one applicant is never enough – build a hopper!
  • How to keep it business-like with every applicant (don’t text and rent!)
  • Proven and legal ways to deny applicants without them making a fuss.
  • A simple process that you can use today, tomorrow, and the day after

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