Wondering how to sift through applications like a pro and identify the perfect tenants? Property owners would want a smooth rental process, like gliding down a freshly Zamboni-ed ice rink. That’s why we’ve curated a list of tenant screening must-haves to confidently select tenants who not only pay on time but also turn your rental space into a haven of reliability and care.
Why Is Tenant Screening Important?
Why bother? Well, it’s your shield against:
- Risky tenants lurking in the shadows
- Income loss nightmares
- Safeguarding your rental investment
- Creating a peaceful and secure setting for everyone involved.
How Do You Screen a Canadian Tenant?
Unlock success in finding trustworthy tenants with our proven 7-step Canadian tenant screening checklist. This guide is your key to securing reliable tenants seamlessly. We’ll help you elevate your chances of identifying and signing top-notch renters by following our expert advice.
Step 1: Determine Your Ideal Candidate
You can outline your dream tenant based on:
- Income. Set the bar. What’s the $$$ sweet spot? Any income deal-breakers?
- References. Are they a work and landlord fave? Let the past speak.
- Move-in Date. Timing is everything. When’s the perfect move-in moment?
- Rental History. Would you prefer a renting pro? Consistency matters.
- Future Plans. Short or long-term vibes? Define your property’s destiny.
- Lifestyle. Pros, students, family vibes? Attract the right crew subtly.
- Pets. Furry friends or pet-free zone? Navigate wisely.
Step 2: Make a Clear Rental Listing Criteria
Grab attention by front-loading key info in short, punchy paragraphs or bullet points in your rental listing. Find the sweet spot by highlighting standout features like a “recently renovated kitchen,” “stunning city views,” or “in-unit laundry” while focusing on what matters to your ideal tenant. Emphasize these details to attract only qualified, aka ideal renters.
Step 3: Pre-Screen Your Candidates
While someone might appear promising at first, engaging in a phone conversation or having them complete a pre-screening questionnaire clarifies their suitability for the leasing process. If, following the pre-screening, you find a mismatch and decide to turn them away, take solace in knowing you’ve efficiently saved both your time and theirs.
Step 4: Show the Rental Unit
When inviting potential tenants who passed the pre-screening to your unit, you have choices, including open house vibes, scheduled appointments, or solo showings. Meeting potential tenants face-to-face allows you to get to know them better.
Did they roll in on time? Show up prepped? Get into the property vibe? These insights will help you pick the perfect match.
Step 5: Send the Application Forms to Promising Renters
Sure, you want the basics on the application, like credit scores, references, payment stubs, and rental history (keeping it legal, of course). (keeping it legal, of course). But it’s also a sneak peek into tenant habits.
If they promise to shoot over the application the day after the showing, do they actually do it? Are they on top of communication, giving you a heads-up if there’s a delay? The green lights during the application stage are quick responses, enthusiasm, and good communication.
Step 6: Verify the Renter’s Identity and Information
First up, run a detailed credit check. Credit scores in Canada range from 300 to 900, with a higher score indicating better creditworthiness. By examining a credit report, you can assess an applicant’s credit history, encompassing information about their payment behavior, the nature of their debts, the magnitude of their monthly debt payments, and particulars regarding any bankruptcies.
Beyond this, you need to verify the renter’s income and employment. Just ask for a recent pay stub and maybe a peek at a few months of bank statements. Also, assess their rent-to-income ratio, with 35% often considered a standard guideline.
Step 7: Know the Applicant’s Rent Affordability
Now, assess if the applicant can handle the rent. Many landlords stick to a 35% rent-to-income ratio, ensuring tenants don’t spend more than that on rent.
For instance, for a $2,500 rent, a qualified tenant should pull in at least $7,143 gross income monthly. Yet, this 35% benchmark is trickier in places like Toronto, where salaries lag behind living costs, nudging landlords to rely on their judgment. Generally, a lower rent-to-income ratio is the goal.
What Can You Ask Legally During the Tenant Selection Process?
Following guidelines from the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act (RTA), and the Ontario Human Rights Code, here’s what you can ask prospective tenants:
- Rental history (note: not having one can’t be used against them)
- Permission for credit checks and credit references
- Basic info like name, address, and date of birth (for credit checks)
- Passport, driver’s license, income, and expense info (for detailed credit reports and accuracy checks)
What Can’t You Ask Legally During the Tenant Selection Process?
Now, what’s off-limits?
- Social insurance number
- Past disputes at the Landlord and Tenant Board
- Social assistance status
- Personal details like age, disabilities, gender expression, family status, place of origin, sexual orientation, or religion
What is Background Check for a Tenant in Ontario?
The process includes confirming the tenant’s identity, employment history, and rental track record. This examination aids in assessing any history of evictions or legal concerns. A criminal record check also unveils past convictions or charges, identifying potential risks to your property or other tenants.
What are the Valid Reasons to Deny an Application Ontario?
A landlord can decline based on a tenant’s unfavorable rental history, credit references, or credit checks. However, bias against individuals lacking credit history, especially newcomers to Canada, may be considered discriminatory. Income assessment is another aspect that requires careful consideration.
What Do Landlords See on a Credit Check Canada?
In Canada, a tenant credit check is primarily employed to assess a tenant’s financial fitness by examining their spending patterns and debt levels. This evaluation is presented through a credit report, summarizing their credit history, which includes their credit score and details on outstanding debts, loans, or bankruptcies.
Finding the perfect tenant is not only about the transaction but also the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship. Picture your property as a place to stay and a haven where tenants thrive and your investment blossoms.