Guest post from Skip Lahti
I had a request to post an article on tenant/landlord screening by reader Skip Lahti, and I am very glad to be able to post it here. Mahalo for this informational article, Skip!
2013: The Year of The Landlord
The projections are clear: 2013 is a good year to be in property management. MyScreeningReport takes a look at the top three tenant trends for the coming year and what landlords can do to stay ahead of the competition.
LEAVING THE NEST
Millions of people, most in their twenties and thirties, have moved back in with family or friends in recent years to ride out the shaky economy. Now, many areas are experiencing a boost in job growth and these “nesters” are getting jobs – which means they will be looking for their own apartments in 2013.
Many landlords find the screening process for tenants in their twenties and thirties to be challenging, as short credit and employment histories are common. The most important screening tool in this demographic is called a “consumer-initiated screening report.” Tenants gather their own background information, financial information, former rental and employment references and credit history through a secure, online company like MyScreeningReport. This allows younger individuals the opportunity to see where they stand and what type of rental they are likely to qualify for — before they leave the nest.
THE RETURN OF “HOME AWAY FROM HOME”
According to the U.S Department of Commerce, builders began construction on the most homes and apartments in October 2012 since the summer of 2008. With the housing recovery making consistent gains, a continued influx of new, luxury apartment buildings and condos will be available for renters wanting a “second home” in 2013. It has become common practice for current homeowners to rent an apartment in a new city or neighborhood to “try it out” before relocating or purchasing a home there permanently. With the economy bouncing back, many homeowners are finding extra room in their budget for a vacation rental, enjoying a carefree lifestyle without the commitment.
If you own luxury properties or rental houses in an area attracting a higher-income demographic, be prepared for a greater applicant demand in 2013. Avoid the extra administrative and processing costs by directing potential tenants to a reputable, applicant-initiated screening service such as MyScreeningReport.
TENANT-INITIATED SCREENING: HERE TO STAY FOR THOSE ON THE MOVE
Work travelers, college students, divorcing couples—millions of people in transition are in need of short-term or low-income housing. Unfortunately, rental application fees can really add up for tenants moving into a new residence every few months, cutting into a renter’s ability to pay first month’s rent, security deposit and utility fees.
According to Craig Lyons, co-chairman of Washington’s Clark County Affordable Housing Consortium, “One of the biggest complaints we hear from [residents] is that it costs too much to move. Some have paid as much as $500 in application fees, and you haven’t even been accepted to move into a place yet.”
In response to this trend, a growing number of landlords offering short-term leases and low-income housing have turned to tenant-initiated screening reports to save these residents a significant amount of time and money. Using an online-based company like MyScreeningReport, tenants only have to pay for one screening report, and reuse the report with each move.
Printing and reviewing their own screening reports also empowers tenants, who may dispute items before meeting with a potential landlord without negatively impacting their credit score.
[note from Aunty: this is not a free service. However, Aunty has clicked on a few tabs here and there and the cost seems very reasonable. For the few rentals that we do have, our property manager does all the screening for us, a service that is included in our lease fee agreement.]