Check their Income – Before showing a property ask how much money the prospective tenant makes per month. Typically most landlords will want their tenants to make two and a half to three times the monthly rent to ensure that they can afford to live there. It’s really the same concept as mortgage lenders use, except they tend to be more strict and look at an applicant’s total monthly debt to income ratio, whereas many landlords will just look at their income. Most applicants should have no trouble showing their income in the form of a paycheck, paystub or a W-2, but some who earn their income as an independent contractor or who have child support or alimony to support them may need additional proof. Be sure to ask your prospect how they earn their monthly income and how they plan on showing it when the landlord asks.

Ask about any evictions or credit issues – Landlords are giving their property to another person for the course of a year in good faith that they will be collecting twelve months of rent and that their property will be returned to them in a similar condition. Landlords would like to see as much of a track record as possible before allowing a tenant to take over their property, which is why many will look at their past collections, if they’ve ever been evicted or if they’ve ever had an item repossessed. These are all indicators that the future tenant is irresponsible with their spending and may not be fulfilling their monthly obligation.

Ask about their criminal background – Most landlords will not allow former felons to live in their Berkeley Real Estate, especially if it was a violent offense. By allowing former felons in their property they could be potentially scaring away neighbors or other tenants in the area, not to mention they could feel that the tenant will bring problems, noise violations and even police interference. Most landlords will not be very forgiving with former felons and according to fair housing laws, they have every right to discriminate against prospects with a shady past. While this may be unfortunate for reformed criminals, many learn while they’re serving time that their choices have led them to a lot of lost privileges and opportunities, and their equal rights to housing is one of them.

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