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How to Prevent Evicting Residents: Essential Resident Screening for Rental Property Investors

Does the thought of evicting a resident scare the sh*t out of you? There is a way to virtually eviction-proof your rental investments. Effective resident screening is important for protecting your investment and streamlining property management. A well-designed screening process helps you find reliable and responsible residents who will contribute to the success of your investment. By carefully evaluating applicants, you can ensure your property is occupied by individuals who will respect the space, pay rent on time, and minimize any issues that could arise. This initiative-taking approach to resident selection can eventually save you time, money, and headaches, allowing you to focus on managing your property efficiently.

The Importance of Eviction Prevention

Screening potential residents is more than just a basic background check. It can have an impact on your business. Carefully evaluating applicants helps to ensure you find the right fit for your properties.

Minimizing Financial Loss

Evictions are expensive. You lose rental income, face legal fees, and potentially need to reinvest in repairs. Smart screening reduces eviction prevention.

Positive Community Atmosphere

Responsible residents contribute to a pleasant living environment for everyone. It improves property value and reduces turnover.

Peace of Mind

Identifying qualified residents can give you confidence and allow you to concentrate on expanding investment holdings. Thoroughly vetting potential residents provides reassurance, freeing you to focus on growing your portfolio.

Want to prevent evictions? Do this!

Here is a breakdown of the essential components to include in your screening:

Background check

It explores the potential resident's criminal background and identifies any concerning issues that could indicate future problems.

Credit check

Understanding a person's financial history can offer valuable insights. Late payments or accumulated debt may suggest potential difficulties in making rent payments on time­.

Rental History

Reaching out to previous homeowners could help confirm if they paid rent punctually, kept the property in good condition, and had no issues with neighbors. 

Employment/Income Verification

The resident should have a reliable­ income source that easily covers the rent and allows timely payme­nts.

Note:  You might consider additional factors based on your property, such as pets, smoking preferences, and occupancy limits for eviction prevention.

Example: A baseline screening criteria might look like this:

  • Criminal background: No recent felonies or convictions related to violence or property damage.

  • Credit Score: A credit score below 620 might create problems in the future.

  • Income Verification: Gross income of at least 2.5 to 3 times the monthly rent.

  • Rental History: Positive references from homeowners, no prior evictions.

Setting Clear Screening Criteria

Once you know what information to collect, you need well-defined criteria for decision-making. 

It helps in: 

Consistency and Fairness

Applying the same standards to all applicants protects you from unintentional discrimination and maintains a level playing field.

Adherence to Fair Housing Laws

Discrimination based on race, religion, familial status, and other protected factors is illegal. It's vital to understand Fair Housing Laws in your area.

Match for Your Property

Your criteria should reflect your property. A luxury unit may require a stricter credit score, while student housing might prioritize rental history.


  • Consult with an attorney specializing in owner-resident law when establishing your criteria.

  • Re-evaluate your criteria periodically to reflect market conditions for eviction prevention.

Tools and Resources for Resident Screening

Thorough screening does not have to be a hassle. Check out these helpful resources.

Professional Screening Services

You can hire companies that offer comprehensive screening packages that include background, credit, and eviction history. Choose reputable services that comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Pet Screening

Pet Screening companies use individual data points to help rental property owners and property managers understand how to thoughtfully measure risk while enacting and managing responsible, accountable, and inclusive pet policies.

Woman on the phone

Even the most rigorous screening cannot eliminate every risk. There are situations where eviction might become the only option:

Lease Violations

If a resident breaks the lease terms (like illegal activity, unauthorized pets, or subletting), eviction procedures might be initiated.

Non-payment of Rent

Consistent failure to pay rent on time, even after grace periods or payment plans, may result in eviction.

Property Damage

Significant damage to your property beyond normal wear and tear could lead to eviction proceedings.

Legal Guidance

It is important to consult an attorney experienced in Owner-resident law before starting eviction proceedings. Each state has specific laws and procedures that must be followed meticulously. Click here to check yours. 

Investor Benefits Package

Rental property investors can bypass the stress of evictions with Sankofa Realty's Investor Benefit Package. When you trust your investments to Sankofa Realty, you’ll enjoy $1,000 coverage of legal expenses. This protection shields property owners from the financial burden of evictions due to tenant non-payment. Additionally, owners can benefit from 2 months of rental protection, safeguarding your rental income in case of tenant default on rent payments.

Important Note:  Eviction should always be a last resort after failed attempts at communication and resolution. Document everything related to the situation for your legal protection.

Man talking to woman

Building Strong Relationships with Residents

While screening can be crucial, building strong connections with residents can often prevent many issues before they arise. Here are some effective strategies:

Open Communication

Residents should be encouraged to promptly report any issues. This creates a sense of collaboration in keeping the property well-maintained. Clear communication channels should be established for this purpose.

Initiative-taking Maintenance

Address maintenance requests quickly and efficiently. This shows residents you care and can prevent minor issues from escalating into bigger problems.

Screening potential residents carefully is a key part of effective property management. By taking the time and effort to find dependable residents upfront, you can reduce the chances of having to evict someone and all the hassles that come with that. This helps create a smoother rental experience, boost your profits, and give you greater peace of mind. Remember, communicating openly and building strong relationships with your residents are as vital as a thorough screening process. And this helps in eviction prevention.

Sankofa Realty is here to partner with you in all aspects of investment property management. Our experienced team can tailor resident screening solutions, manage day-to-day management, and help you achieve your real estate goals.

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