Compared to marketing and strategizing to attract new prospective renters, retaining tenants is relatively easier. When you establish long-term residents, you generate stable earnings which can finance renovation projects to enhance the value of your rental property.

When renters are inclined to renew the lease, this can elevate a lot of stress for property owners. But before giving the lease renewal agreement to the tenant, consider conducting renewal screening checks. Circumstances change over time and it’s important to know whether broad changes have occurred making the tenant unsuitable for the renewal.  

For instance, if the renter’s income level and credit score have been greatly reduced, this can affect their ability to pay the rent. When you perform a renewal screening check, you’ll be updated with any changes and limit your exposure to possible tenant issues and conflicts. 

It’s recommended that you perform renewal screening checks to safeguard your interest. It also lets you find out about the tenants’ first leasing experience. This article will provide information on how to handle renewal screening checks as well as ways to make it convenient for the landlord and renter.

What are the Advantages of Renewal Screenings?

Initially, as a landlord, you may wonder why you need to do a renewal screening check if the renter has not missed a rent payment and followed the terms of the lease. So why should you allot extra time for another screening?

person signing a lease contract as someone else oversees the process

Keep in mind that your experience won’t necessarily dictate what the future unfolds. While the renter has shown a responsible attitude and paid on time, there may be underlying issues that can affect the upcoming tenancy.

In the space of a year or two, certain changes among some of your Washington renters can occur that you won’t immediately notice. Performing a straightforward renewal screening provides you with the assurance that the renter is still capable of meeting the monthly rental payment obligation.

The following are some of the ways a renewal screening helps you: 

  • Save Costs – If there are possible issues your renters are facing like lower credit or income challenges then it’s better to be informed in advance rather than ending up in potential conflicts, attending a court proceeding, or performing an eviction. These situations can be stressful and result in more expenses.
  • Check on the Well-being of ResidentsLong-distance landlords or those who own several units may not have been in frequent enough contact with their tenants. A renewal check provides you with the opportunity to engage with and be updated on how your residents are doing. When done right, you can strengthen your landlord-tenant relationship.  
  • Gain Peace of Mind – A renewal check isn’t as extensive as the first round of tenant screening. This means it’s quick and still provides you with the essential information you need to make a good decision for your investment.

a person holding a credit card and typing on a keyboard

What Should You Screen For?

There may be an overlap between the first tenant screening and the renewal screening but in general, less time and effort is needed since you won’t be starting from scratch in obtaining information. Review these three factors to have a more successful renewal screening check:

  • Credit Report – Early on, you would need to learn about a potential tenant’s credit score to know if it’ll be risky to accept them for a new lease term. A credit report shows the financial health of a renter. Changes can occur at any given time so it’s vital to re-check the credit score during the screening.
  • Income – Verify the renter’s income by requesting a W-2 statement which reveals the current income of the resident. Is the renter still capable of paying the rental dues each month? Jobs can come and go and layoffs can occur so learning about the present financial capabilities is important for landlords before the resident signs a lease renewal. 
  • Court History/ Criminal Background Check – When doing a renewal screening, always review criminal records or court history for updates.

After you’ve reviewed these crucial factors, it’s time to do an internal check. Be honest in your personal assessment while answering the following questions:

  • How would you rate the rental experience with the tenant?
  • Did the renter often pay on time?
  • Were there noise complaints or issues of property damage?

landlord holding a clipboard and a pen

If the renter was responsible and complied with the property policies then there’s no problem in renewing the lease.

How to Perform a Non-Intrusive Renewal Screening?

Make the process easy for your renters by practicing transparency.  To ensure you abide by the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and reduce issues of discrimination in your renewal screening checks, make it a standard procedure. Make sure your initial tenant screening and renewal screening procedure won’t discriminate against anyone. It’s best to consult a legal expert to ensure compliance.

How to Create a Smooth Screening Procedure?

It’s great practice for landlords to state that renewal screening checks are performed before lease renewals so renters know what to expect. Upon reading this requirement in the lease, the tenant expects this vital step and would accept it as part of the procedure of renewing the tenancy.

Another great way to do a renewal screening check that results in less stress for landlords is to partner with a committed property management company. You gain access to vast resources and won’t consume a lot of your time conducting tenant screenings.

Bottom Line

By performing a renewal screening you can ensure that your property remains in good hands. However, if you’re looking for a trusted partner to help you facilitate a renewal screening check, contact T-Square Properties today! 

Disclaimer: This blog article is for informational purposes. The information contained in this blog article may not be the official policies of T-Square Properties.

Rental Owner looking for Management Services? Start Here