The national guidelines state you should spend no more than one third of your income on housing. So whenever we get an application, we make sure that all the applicants who will be in the property have a combined gross income of at least three times the rent amount. If they don’t, we will not even process the application.
It’s very important to complete a criminal background on each person listed on the application. Certain criminal histories will prevent people from living in certain locations, so be detailed in the information you collect.
You can’t make a decision based solely on an applicant’s credit score. There might be reasons behind a low score. Look for outstanding balances, things they aren’t paying or mitigating circumstances that won’t show up in the credit report. It’s important to interpret it and decide if they can afford to live in your property. A lot of people don’t realize that when someone goes through a bankruptcy, they have a discharge. That means they are no longer responsible for that debt. So when tenants come to your property after declaring bankruptcy, they have a lot less debt and a larger ability to pay. They can be your best tenants.
References from former Norfolk Property Management companies or landlords will give you the best sort of information. We recommend that you send a written document; an email or a fax to former landlords. Ask questions about late payments, whether an Unlawful Detainer was ever filed, if there are past balances due and whether any pets caused damage at the home. This is the best information you can collect, so get it first-hand right from the landlord.
We always ask for two payroll stubs to verify income. As you know, payroll is paid for the work you’ve already done. Therefore, we also do employment verifications to be sure the employee still works there. This provides us with a work phone number in case we need to reach the tenant at work, and we have the supervisor’s name in case we have trouble getting in touch with our tenant.