Renewal Screening Checks

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Renewal Screening Checks

Leases expire and to continue receiving consistent income, marketing your rental property should be prioritized. However, a good strategy that entails less effort and cost is to work on retaining your existing renters.

You won’t need to post ads anymore and you save time chasing after potential tenant leads. But, should you feel fortunate enough to have renters who are interested in signing a lease agreement again, that does not mean that you should skip a renewal screening check.

You still need to evaluate whether or not the tenant is still a good candidate to maintain as a renter. Initially, you might have second thoughts about going through renewal screening checks, since the renters may feel you don’t trust them. However, this article will help you navigate this delicate process and provide you with objective reasons behind the importance of performing these checks.

We at JMAX Property Management will also offer tips to guide landlords on how to make the renewal screening checks effortless for all parties.  

Benefits of Renewal Screenings

You might think that you don’t need to perform a renewal screening after receiving consistent and timely rental payments from the renters. The tenant might also have turned over a damage-free property. So why do landlords need to go through an assessment when they feel they can trust their tenants? 

person sitting in front of a computer holding a pen and thinking

Think of it this way, when a potential renter was referred to you with glowing references, you still chose to screen them to limit the risks. The reason is that you need to find out information about the tenant’s current situation. The past should not dictate the present. Changes can happen in your Virginia tenant’s life without you knowing. This is why performing screening checks is recommended.

Here are some of the main benefits of doing renewal screening checks:

  • It provides you with extra savings. You can check in advance if there are issues with the residents that you can resolve early on. This way, you can avoid lawsuits and going through the process of evicting a renter, as that would mean setting aside money and time to attend to that stressful situation.
  • It gives you a chance to check how the renters are faring. For property owners, it’s an opportunity to catch up with and get to know how the tenants are doing. It’s a way to touch base and address minor issues before they escalate. 
  • It provides landlords with peace of mind. The initial tenant screening will always be more extensive than renewal screening checks. Creating a simplified process is what’s needed to get the critical information you need right away to ensure that the tenant is still reliable.
person in a black jacket holding a clipboard conducting an interview

Main Things To Screen For 

Renewal screening checks may appear similar to the first round of tenant screening. But in general, it’s more streamlined and requires a shorter period to complete. After all, you have already gathered a lot of information prior to allowing these renters to occupy your rental space.

Here are three factors to check for a successful renewal screening check:

Credit Report

Since a person’s finances are dynamic, it’s important to learn the current credit score of a resident. Have they generated a large debt over the past year of their tenancy? If so, you might want to reconsider their request to extend their stay. Ensuring that the tenant still has a good credit history is vital as it could indicate whether or not you’ll still be paid on time.

Income Verification

It’s important to know the present income of your renter to learn if they can still meet the monthly rent. Ask them to submit a W-2 statement for a quick verification of their income. You don’t want to be the last to know that they have quit their jobs or have been laid off, so always review this information before approving a renter to renew the lease.

Court History/ Criminal Background Check

For safety reasons, you should take the time to check whether the renter has developed a relevant criminal record since their last screening.

a black and gold judges gavel on a dark desk

Your Experience Renting to Them 

Even if you’ve finished reviewing these factors, you still need to evaluate your experience with the renter. Did you have positive relations? Are there any issues that could resurface? Had they ever missed a rental payment? You have to determine if there were stressful experiences that you want to avoid going through again.

How to Have a Hassle-free Renewal Screening Check

Remember to be transparent to your renters when doing a screening check, so they understand the process and won’t feel left out. Consider the following:

Design a Simple Screening Procedure

An effective way to keep renters from walking away when you announce a renewal screening check is to include it in your lease agreement. Let them know in black and white that you’ll be performing screening checks for lease renewals, so they already know what to expect.

Be Familiar with Fare Housing Act Guidelines

You must learn about the Fair Housing Act (FHA) to avoid discriminatory practices against protected classes. The Virginia Fair Housing Act does not apply only during the initial round of tenant screening but also during renewal screening checks. You can always talk to property managers to ensure your process is fully compliant with the laws.

Bottom Line

Even if renewal screening checks can be quicker than the first tenant screening, landlords might still need support, especially if they have a lot of renters. JMAX Property Management makes it easy for landlords. All our rental property management procedures are solid and efficient.

A daunting task, like running renewal screening checks, is made easier with the right property management partner. It also protects your time and money since you will be sidestepping evictions and court proceedings. 

Contact our team at JMAX Property Management today to learn more about our services!