You cannot survive as a rental property owner without cash-flow from monthly rent. While this is an overly-obvious statement, I’m shocked at how many landlords quickly rent to poorly screened and highly-unqualified tenants as if collecting monthly rent didn’t matter.
If you have a tenant that is paying late or not at all, short of hounding them (legally) & evicting them, there’s nothing you can do. You can’t throw them out, change the locks, or shut off the utilities. Doing any of these will make things exponentially worse for you as a landlord.
Screen your tenants well…very well
Don’t end up in a situation where you’ve got to evict a tenant because they aren’t paying rent. You can expect to pay/lose around $3K-$5K evicting a tenant. Instead screen your tenants well. This is your best protection against bad tenants who will leave you high and dry.
Will it take time to review an applicant’s credit, criminal history and to look up possible prior evictions? Yes.
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Will you have to carve out part of your day to call on previous landlords and personal references? Absolutely.
Will you have to spend your lunch break verifying current employment? Yep.
However, you must do this. This is the best way to ensure you attract tenants that will pay their rent, and pay it on time. You want quality tenants who have a history of being responsible and show a pattern of paying their bills (including their rent), staying out of trouble and maintaining stable employment.
You need tenant screening software
In order to screen tenants properly and thoroughly, you need the help of tenant screening software. I strongly recommend Buildium.
I’ve been using Buildium from the very beginning. As a customer for the last four years, I can honestly say it’s a great software that you can grow with. I started with Buildium when I only had two rental properties, and as I quickly scaled to nearly forty, Buildium scaled right along with me.
Buildium has provides so much value for landlords. Here are my four favorite features:
You can try Buildium risk-free (no credit card required) by activating a 15-day free trial. After the trial ends, they’ve got plans starting at $45/mo. Trust me, the $45 will more than pay for itself.
Forget manually listing your rental property on different sites one-by-one. Create your listing once in Buildium, and Buildium will push your listing out to major real estate sites within minutes. For me, that’s all the marketing I do, and I’ve had no problem keeping my properties rented.
Getting back to the topic-at-hand. Buildium’s tenant screening is fantastic. Buildium works with Transunion Smartmove to ensure you get a full credit report (with credit score), criminal history, and any prior evictions.
Online Rent Payments
Collecting rent payments online with Buildium is completely hands-off for landlords. Tenants will get their own online portal where they can log in and make payments.
So, “How do I make sure my tenant pays rent?” The best answer to this question is to screen them well.