Getting tenants to fill out rental applications is important, but have you thought about having your tenants update their applications (or profiles) each year? If not, you should.
Renting to responsible tenants, who pay the rent on time and take care of the property, is key to success in the landlord business.
Good tenants make you want to grow your business (or at least maintain it), and bad tenants make you want to get into any another venture—vending machines, taco stands, whatever—to avoid being a landlord. And most of us know that investing in rental properties is actually a good choice!
Info to Request on an Application
The best way to find good tenants is to screen them. And the way to screen tenants is to have them fill out a rental application. The application should contain the following:
- Social Security number (unless you use Cozy)
- Phone number
- Email address
- Past residence history
- Contact information of last landlords or property managers
- Employment history
- Proof of income
- Employer name
- Contact information of employer
- Name and address of bank
- Emergency contact numbers
- Authorization to run a background and credit check
Some opt to collect the driver’s license number, make/model of cars, and plate numbers, but I think that’s a little overkill. You should, however, make sure that they show you a government issued photo ID, so you can be sure that the name matches the face.
Information Could Change Over Time
But what if important information changes, such as your tenant’s job? And what if your tenant skips out on you, still owing you money? That can happen, even after you’ve screened tenants. Honestly, there’s nothing you can do about it. If they lose their job six months into the lease, it’s not really your concern unless they miss a rent payment.
Stay Up-to-Date, Easily
You can have Cozy handle the application and screening processes, and your tenants can even create a Cozy Renter Profile. Here’s how it works.
When you set up your property to rent, you can then invite applicants to apply right through Cozy. You simply post the link to your rental application wherever you list your property, or you can give the link to people who answer your ad. If you choose to, you can also have Cozy do the credit and/or background checks. You pay nothing for this. Applicants are charged.
The Cozy Renter Profile is like a resume or a LinkedIn profile for renters.
The Cozy Renter Profile is like a resume or a LinkedIn profile for renters. When renters place their profile with Cozy, you can see the following:
- The short bio they wrote
- Their employment and income history
- Their rental history
- Endorsements from references
- Answers to key screening questions
Renters can update their information anytime they like. So instead of handing your tenant a new application to fill out at lease renewal time, you can simply ask them to update their Cozy Renter Profile.
Sample Cozy Renter Profile:
Ask for Extra Security Deposit Money
While you’re updating your tenants’ applications each year, remember to get extra security deposit money if you will be raising the rent.
If, for example, you’re raising the rent $50 for the next year, for the first month of the new lease period, you should collect an extra $100 — the $50 rent increase plus $50 to bring the security deposit up to match the new rental amount.
Always get, keep, and update as much information as possible on your tenants to allow you to recover any damages you might incur.