Rental Screening and Showing Schedule
Once you’re ready to rent your unit you need to have a way to keep track of possible tenants’ information and set up a showing schedule. We didn’t really think about this the first time we rented our basement suite so ended up with notes on small pieces of paper and backs of envelopes. There were only a few callers so we were able to narrow our list of possible tenants down to a few that seemed suitable.
Discover 3 Steps to Finding Great Renters for tips on how to find the perfect tenant(s) for your unit.
It was a different story when we rented our second basement suite. There were so many people calling that seemed like they could be a good fit. I quickly set up a few dates and times on a piece of paper. It worked but it was messy!
We’ve learned from this and have since set up a much better template that we’re sharing with you today. Outlined below are the 3 parts to initially screening interested renters and setting up a showing schedule.
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Rental Screening and Showing Schedule Set up
1. The rental units details and what it has to offer
We use this before we write our ads because it helps us outline the features of the unit. We don’t want to miss mentioning any added bonuses that make our unit more desirable to possible tenants. Keeping this list on hand when showing the unit is also helpful.
Know your non-negotiables
This list is also a reminder of your non-negotiable criteria so you can ask about them. For example, we don’t rent to smokers or people with pets. This is mainly because of the potential for damage smoking and pets can cause. Another consideration when renting to people with pets is the additional noise that pets can create. Not only can a barking dog be a turn off, the sound of pets walking/running/jumping/enjoying life can be quite disruptive to you or other tenants (if it is a multi-unit house or building).
Even if you put specifics in your ad, you still need to confirm with every single person that they meet your non-negotiable criteria. Every single interested person that contacts us about our units is asked if they have pets and if they smoke. I would say about 50% will either have a pet or smoke. It is a waste of our time and theirs to show the unit if we know we are not going to rent to them.
2. Showing Schedule
You need to block out some time in your schedule when you are available to show your rental. If the unit has tenants then this also has to be arranged ahead of time with them as well. We usually block 1-2 hours and schedule people every 15 minutes. We find this is enough time to show the space, answer questions and give them an application. Some people show rentals in an open house style. This is a possibility but we like to have some conversation with each of the possible tenants and want to keep current tenants’ belongings safe.
3. Information about possible tenants
It’s difficult to keep track of all the details possible tenants share with you, especially if you have a lot of interest in your unit. Having a place for notes about what they do, why they are moving, etc. gives you some background to review before meeting them to show the rental unit. It will also help you decide who you ultimately rent to. It’s also good to have their contact information so you can get a hold of them as needed.
As a reminder, you cannot discriminate based on person’s race, religion, family status, physical or mental disability, gender, sexual orientation, age or anything else that could be considered a Human Rights violation. Be sure to know your local area’s by-laws about what you can put limits on. Recently, there was a petition in our area proposing pets should not be a reason for denying a rental application.
Putting it all together
Only one of us is listed as the contact for the rental ad so people don’t’ get double booked for showings. I still write info on paper because it’s easy to keep with me. I keep Sean updated and we show the rental together so we can both meet and assess the possible tenants. If something doesn’t feel right, we trust that instinct. All of this information, as well as a rental application is used to help us decide on who to rent our units to. This may seem like a lot to take in but it gets easier every time you rent a unit. You can also make it easy on yourself by getting the free Rental Screening and Showing Schedule Template (that you can use as many times as you need).
What do you use to keep track of rental screening info and showing schedule? Let us know in the comments!
Denise and Sean
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P.P.S. Don’t forget to check out our previous post on 3 Steps to Finding Great Renters for tips on how to find the perfect tenant(s) for your unit.