How do we evaluate the data we collect to arrive at a decision whether or not to rent to a prospective tenant?
We score applications based on income, credit worthiness, debt to income ratio, rent payment history, cash reserves of monthly rent, employment history, length of residency, background/eviction check and other factors.
The 21 point scoring card used to process and approve applications is made accessible to all prospective tenants.
When Tenant Screening is run, our screening provider, TransUnion, sends an email out to the applicant asking them to release their personal information. This is standard for what’s known as a soft credit check, and will not affect the applicant’s credit history.
Tenant Screening *does* require the applicant’s involvement. This is beneficial as an applicant needs to confirm interest in the application process to complete this required step.
Tenant Screening & Selection
Does the Applicant have the means to pay the rent?
How long has the prospect been employed in his/her current line of work? Is this a new career for her, or has she demonstrated a long-term commitment to her field of employment? This makes a difference. It indicates stability, or lack thereof. Income counts, too. Is the paycheck going to cover not only the rent, but the prospect’s other expenses? If not, something’s going to be sacrificed. As a landlord, we don’t want that sacrifice to be the timely payment of rent.
What does the former landlord have to say?
Better yet, what do the last two or three landlords have to say about your prospect? It’s not unusual for the current landlord to soften his evaluation of the prospective tenant. After all, he’s still the current landlord. The former landlord, however, generally feels far removed enough from your prospect that he’s apt to be frank and forthcoming with information. Do you take what a landlord says at face value? Of course not! Whether that information is positive or negative, it is subjective in nature. The landlords’ feedback is helpful, but should never be a stand-alone reason to accept or deny a prospect.
What about bounced checks & criminal history?
Are those items important? We think yes. Combined with the other factors we evaluate, these items help to provide a complete picture of the likelihood of the prospect living up to his/her end of the rental agreement terms.
We use SmartMove by TransUnion to handle our criminal history and background checks.
Tenant Screening...the whole picture.
The greatest lesson we bring to the table, in terms of tenant screening, is the knowledge that no single factor in a tenant’s financial picture, residential history, or references stands alone. All facts, taken together, paint the picture of the prospective resident. Taken together, our 21 point scoring card is going to lead us to a more accurate conclusion as to the likelihood our prospect will do the two things we require… pay the rent and take good care of the property. As referenced, Rice Real Estate uses a 21-point scoring card to process applications. If multiple applications are received the property will be first offered to the applicant with the highest score. If the 1st approved applicant doesn’t pay holding fee within 24 hours of approval the property will be offered to the next in line and so on.
The most advanced online Application.
Interested in applying for a home with Rice Real Estate? Start the process online.