3 important questions to ask yourself when screening tenants.


3 important questions to ask yourself when screening tenants.

If you run a rental business, you have unquestionably come to understand how important it is to screen tenants. Having the right tenant for your property can be the difference between smooth sailing and a huge hassle. Landlords need to take screening tenants very seriously and understand that it is a significant component of a rental business. You would not hire just about anybody to do repairs on your property — taking on tenants should be no different, doing your due diligence will save you future hassles and money.

Good Vs. Bad Tenants

Although there is no sure-fire way to determine whether or not a tenant will be good or bad, there are multiple ways to reduce your chances of high-risk tenants. You should consider each tenant on a case by case basis  — a great tenant will respect your property, have no history of nonpayments or evictions (some instances are understandable) and provide you with all the requirements needed for you to make a sound decision.

Whom would you choose between two prospects,  a financially well-off individual who makes plenty of money but has had a questionable past with previous landlords or a reasonably young professional who is just starting out with no previous signs of delinquency or evictions? The best option, in the long run, would be the latter of the two. 

The importance of screening tenants

As a business operator, you should not leave anything to chance. Ultimately, you set the standards for the individuals that will live on your property. Screening a prospective tenant should be one of your top priorities — every applicant should meet your predetermined rental criteria. Poor situations occur when landlords rely on intuition rather than a sound screening method.

It is better to wait for the right tenant than to fill the unit with the first applicant who puts in their deposit. Taking the time to screen a tenant correctly will save you time and money. It cannot be emphasized enough how important it is not to overlook this process!

Three significant questions to ask yourself when screening tenants:

A word of caution: Legal issues will arise if you are not familiar with the Federal Housing Laws and your States Housing Laws. As a rental business operator, it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with the rules that govern landlords and tenants. Mistakes can easily be made by landlords when they are unaware of what they can and cannot do. It is in your best interest to figure out what laws you are subject to as a landlord.

Remember that housing laws can differ significantly from city to city, so it is recommended to see what your local housing laws are as well. If you feel uncertain, check with an attorney to determine which Federal and State Housing Laws you have to follow when working with rental applicants and tenants.

Are you basing the entirety of your choice in a tenant solely on a credit report?

Yes, the applicant's credit history will show on their credit report. It will include the amount of debt they have at the moment, if and how often they pay bills late, and whether they have any apartment related collections facing them. You should always look at the applicant credit report as it will give you an honest insight into their financial standing. Although a credit report will provide you with a good sense of who the applicant is — it does not adequately paint a detailed enough picture for you, a complete tenant screening should include a background check and an eviction report.

All three documents paint a whole picture of the applicant background and will help determine if they meet your rental requirements. To determine whether a potential tenant is a risk to your property and the community, you should request a criminal report and look for any relevant criminal records. You do not want to be in the same position as a landlord who had to undergo the stresses of eviction; it is recommended to pull an eviction report to determine whether a potential tenant was or has evictions from previous properties. 

Are you checking your applicant's references and employment history?

Always make sure to check your applicant's references and employment history. Just because they look good on paper — does not mean that they are risk-free. To better understand your applicants' behavior, you should speak with their previous landlords. They may have a good credit report and no criminal record but may have received multiple complaints from their past neighbors and landlords. It is always good to check and see what their past relationships were like and why they decided to move, start by asking the previous landlord if they would rent an apartment to them again.

When checking their employment history, you should ask to speak to their current employer to verify employment and request current pay stubs (more up to date than a W-2 or 1099). Always make sure they have a stable source of income. Add an extra step to see if applicants are committed to renting the unit, request to look at bank records for the previous months (do this for all applicants to avoid violating any Fair Housing Laws). Unexpected expenses can occur, and it is best to make sure that your tenant has the financial support to cover the rent if something were to happen. 

Are you screening every individual planning to reside in the unit?

You have a better chance of collecting the rent if all the individuals living in the unit have met your rental requirements. You would not want someone who has not satisfied your rental terms for the background check and eviction report residing on your property. Think twice and screen everyone planning to live in your property. If you plan to check every individual — show consistency by making everyone pass all your rental requirements, this will ultimately help you avoid any issues with the Fair Housing Act.

If you check one applicant's criminal background, check all the individuals planning to live in the unit as well. Increase the security deposit if only one applicant passes your rental requirement or consider declining the entire application altogether. Take the necessary precautions to avoid significant financial loss. 

As a landlord or property owner, it is your job to make sure that you verify every individual planning to live in your property. Taking the time to assess who is right will most certainly save you future headaches and financial stress. We recommend hiring an experienced property management company that will keep your best interest in mind and will follow all laws governing landlords, rental applicants, and tenants. At Aspire Property Management we make sure to adequately screen every applicant and take the time to fill your property with the right tenant. Contact us for your free consultation.


Are you aware of the risks that come with leaving a property vacant?


Are you aware of the risks that come with leaving a property vacant?

By Christopher Gomez

No property owner likes the idea of having to pay for a vacant property that has the earning potential to bring in thousands of dollars in revenue. Every day your property sits, you are losing money — it is vital that you reduce the time between qualified, paying tenants. Vacant properties are a financial burden that forces you to withdraw from your savings to cover the rental expenses. 

Like an itch, a vacant property can seem like a small nuisance but at times lead to a far worse issue that can potentially cost you thousands of dollars. Many rental owners overlook the many risks that come with leaving a property vacant for far too long. 

According to a blog by Landlordology.com, four risks that are common with vacant properties and their solutions are:

1. Theft and Vandalism

Vacant properties are ideal for thieves or malicious individuals. You may be wondering, what can they possibly take? Surprisingly, copper and appliances tend to be stolen — causing a significant amount of damage. Let's not forget that certain individuals create chaos for joy and will find great pleasure in destroying your property for fun. 


 It is best to install a home security system that will allow you to monitor your property remotely. Adding motion lights and timed lights will give the impression that somebody is occupying the space. 

(2) Squatters

Empty properties are incredibly attractive to squatters — they assume because nobody has moved in, they should be the ones to do so. A squatter will take it upon themselves to fill up your vacancy for you, and the only problem is that they are not ideal tenants. 

Reminder: Upon certain circumstances, if they stay long enough, they can develop landlord-tenant rights as holdover tenants. 


Your best option is to install a home security system that will help you catch them right away. The earlier you find an unauthorized tenant, the better your odds are of getting them out. 

(3) Water Damage

A big problem with properties in cold weather is the chance that pipes will freeze and burst. Water heaters can also potentially leak or rupture flooding your property. If you do not check on your property regularly, this can be going on for a while.


During winter, it would be best to drain your pipes and shut off your heating system to prevent damage. If these are not options, controlling the temperature during winter and summer is your next best solutions. Setting your thermostat to not go lower than 55 degrees during winter is ideal to prevent pipes from freezing. Hot and humid environments are perfect for mold to grow, keep your air condition unit no higher than 85 degrees to keep the property fresh. 

(4) Fire Damage

A common problem with vacant properties is arson. Heating systems that don't receive regular check-ups can potentially create a fire. Due to the lack of electricity, squatters may accidentally start a fire when lightning candles or when leaving them on overnight.


Monitor your security system as much as possible

Many property owners undermine the many risks of leaving a property vacant for far too long. An experienced property manager can ease the burden of having to deal with vacant properties and filling them up promptly. Take a look at the services we at Aspire Property Management offer and contact us to see if we can help you relieve some of these burdens. If a property manager is out of your budget, there are many ways to fill up vacant properties immediately. 

Let's be real, turnovers are bound to happen, and it is best to be prepared for them beforehand rather than waiting until the very last minute. Ideally, a current tenant will let you know beforehand that they are vacating your property (Typically around 30 days), it is best to start the marketing process immediately to avoid any unforeseen circumstances. 

RentPrep posted on their blog to: “Remind the tenant of your state laws that allow you as the landlord to do this as long as you provide proper notice. Most states only require that landlords deliver a 24 or 48-hour written notice to the current tenant before showing the property.”

Steps you can take to fill up your property immediately are:

Modify your Ads

Determine what ads are the most efficient and double down on those ads. Figure out what works and what didn't work. Invest in what works for your particular case. Are your headlines attention grabbing? Are you using the right words to describe your property best? Are you highlighting the best amenities to attract your ideal tenant?

Analyze competitor rental rates

Compare your rental rates to those of the same rental properties around your neighborhood. You do not want to be scaring prospective tenants with an absurd price tag. Set your rent at a fair price that will both be attractive to prospecting tenants and profitable for you.

Upgrade the unit

Does the unit need a new makeover or specific upgrades? It is better to invest in upgrades that will pay off in the long run. Certain modifications and makeovers are good investments. Dish out the cash now to get tenants to become more intrigued. 

Take on tenants with pets

If filling up your vacancy has been an issue, consider renting to tenants with four-legged friends. Many tenants with pets have trouble finding apartments that will accommodate their specific situation. If property damage concerns you, change the lease agreement to include a pet fee.


Referrals tend to be an option that often goes overlooked when marketing a property. Many tenants have friends who have similar taste and offering a referral bonus does not hurt. 

Avoid lowering your standards. 

A big mistake rental owners or landlords make, is to carelessly screen tenants to fill up the vacancy. Every tenant should be rigorously screened no matter the situation. It is better to wait than to take on a tenant who will make business difficult. Having to deal with constant late payments, noise complaints, destruction of property or eviction is far worse than paying out of your pocket to cover the rental expenses. 

The bottom line

You should be well prepared to deal with the risk that comes with having a vacant property. Not only will you dodge the financial cost, but you will avoid the hassle of having to deal with the problems in the first place. You should expect to encounter tenants who move out and evictions, so take the necessary measures to fill that potentially vacant property as quickly as possible. As we mentioned before, an experienced property manager can help you manage all these situations. Contact us or give us a call at (213) 805-5506, let us handle your properties for you.



Four Tips for Reliable Vendor Relationships

By Christopher Gomez

Whether you are a landlord or property manager, having an established relationship with an outside vendor is critical to running an efficient rental property. Issues are going to come up and a strong working relationship with your vendors can determine how fast and how well these issues get handled. The type of vendor you hire ultimately reflects you as a property owner or manager, so it’s best to build a relationship you can always rely on. Here are 4 tips to help you create reliable vendor relationships:

Properly Screening Vendors

Properly screening vendors can help you make the right choice from the start. Although most rental properties operate in the same manner, each property will require specific needs from different vendors. Understanding that not all vendors are the same and identifying the specific needs for your properties will help you choose the best vendor for the job. Kaycee Wegener post on RentecDirect.com that there are 5 things we should look out for when screening vendors:

(1) Accessibility - How close are they to the rental property? What are their hours of operations? What is their response time?

(2) Licensure - Are all their relevant licenses up to date?

(3) Insurance - Do they have insurance to cover any potential damage, injury or liability claims if needed?

(4) Experience - How long have they been working for? Do they have testimonials? Do they have referrals? 

(5) Employees - Are their employees properly screened?


Establishing open lines of communication with vendors will lead to increased efficiency. Misunderstandings occur because of the lack of or ineffective communication between the tenant, vendor, and landlord — most major issues can be avoided by properly communicating with your tenants and vendors. Mistakes tend to occur when the tenant is not made aware of what is to be expected and the vendor is not made aware of what is expected from them. Letting your vendors know what is needed and clearly communicating it to your tenant can lead to a more pleasant experience for all the parties involved.

Working Collaboratively

Creating a sense of teamwork builds a better overall relationship with your vendor. Treating your vendor as a partner, rather than someone you order around, will lead to a functional relationship where both parties feel appreciated and on the same level. Working collaboratively when problems arise will make it easier to be open to multiple points of view on how to solve said problems and resolve them much faster. The goal at the end of the day is to resolve issues in an efficient manner where all parties, including tenants, are satisfied. columbiarpm.com has an awesome blog on how strong communication and a teamwork-based system is important to developing vendor relationships. 


Referrals to other property managers and owners lets vendors know that you genuinely care about their business success. Sending them constant referrals shows that you appreciate and value the work that they do and therefore create a stronger relationship between the two of you. Never underestimate the value of referring.

Bringing It All Together

Just because you hire someone to take care of a property does not mean that they are doing it in the best possible way. It is important that you create an address book with your preferred vendors that you have worked with before and meet your standards. Take a look at how Lucas Hall explains it in his post from landlordolgy.com. As a business (YES, rental properties are a business), your duty is to make sure that everything is running as efficiently as possible. By building trust and a strong connection with your vendors, you'll be able to create long-term growth for your rental property.

If you like our content, please feel free to like & share this blog. If you have any questions regarding property management, send us an email at info@aspire-pm.com.

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What makes a great property manager?


What makes a great property manager?

Property managers are proud members of the customer service industry. Whether it’s speaking to a prospective resident, discussing market analysis with a home owner, or improving business relationships with a fellow property management professional, having great customer service skills is a must. In the competitive marketplace it is no longer enough to say “please and thank you.” You must go above and beyond the call of duty to meet the demands of every renter, owner, and guest who walks into your property management office.

The most professional and successful property managers will have the following traits in common.

Attentive. You need to pay attention to what a client is actually saying. Truly listen to each and every word, without letting your focus waver. You must be willing to pay attention to the details. I can’t emphasize enough that you should not check your email or text messages mid conversation (even though your guest might do it). It’s also important to be on time for appointments and alert clients of cancellations in a timely manner. A real customer service agent must be attentive to the unspoken needs of both residents and homeowners, as well.

Positive. Remaining upbeat and using positive language when presented with the most challenging or frustrating of situations is critical. In simple terms, “keep your cool.” As a property manager you will meet confrontation head on and often without warning. You never know who will walk into your office and for what reason so approaching every situation with a smile and a good attitude will help you resolve issues quickly and effectively. But there is a fine line between positivity and sounding disingenuous or sarcastic, so just be aware of how you’re coming across.

Personable. As a property manager, you need to relate to tenants, owners, and other employees. You must be able to put yourself in another person’s shoes so that you can better understand and respond to unique situations. Everyone is from a different background; however, customer service agents must be able to relate to each person on a one-to-one basis. Most likely you’ve rented in the past or are currently renting—think about how you would like to be treated by your own property manager.

Calm. Often residents and homeowners enter a property manager’s office in distress. When these instances occur, you must be able to respond calmly to stressful situations. Role playing possible scenarios with your coworkers can help you practice keeping calm under pressure. Another tip: Try to keep your office clean and tidy because messy spaces can cause anxiety or added stress. Make it a peaceful and inviting place for your residents and owners to visit.

If you’re thinking about moving into the property management business ask yourself if you embody these traits. You might have to work hard to keep your stress level down or maybe a positive, sunny disposition isn’t in your natural wheelhouse. That’s OK, I guarantee we all have to work on at least one of these things. Keep practicing, and you’ll be a better property manager and all-around employee for it. Added bonus: You might see a boost in resident retention, referrals, and positive online reviews.