The Prospective Tenant Screening Process

September 3, 2018

If you own rental property in Dubai and have been a landlord for years, it’s likely that you’ve experienced at least one bad tenant. It’s always advisable to have an effective tenant screening process in place to filter out potential bad apples. The process can be intense, but at least it doesn’t have to be too costly or time-consuming.

Unsure where to start? Below is an easy checklist on how to screen potential tenants:


1. Have an application ready to go

Create a simple yet customized rental application template that will help you understand the basic candidate profile. Cast the net wide to ensure you learn as much information as possible. Have an application ready to save time!

All tenant applications should cover the following:

Personal information: Legal name, phone number, and the number of people who will be renting from you.

Lifestyle information: Do they smoke or not? Do they have pets? If yes, what kind and how many?

Financial information: How much do they earn at their current job? What about bank accounts, credit cards balances, and other significant financial obligations? Strive to stay clear of tenants whose income is less than three times the rent or whose credit is questionable.

References from previous employers and landlords: A tenant with a problematic past may try to mask some of their history. Luckily, references will speak the truth. If you want to know more about incoming tenants, consult a former boss and/or landlord. They may disclose information that you wouldn’t otherwise find out.


2. In-person interview

Irrespective of their financial strength, invite the potential tenant for an in-person interview. Meeting face to face makes a big difference. This is a critical part of the tenant screening process. You’ll be able to gauge their vibe and manners better. Are they punctual for the meeting? Are they considerate and well-mannered? These could collectively amount to a potential red flag.

two people sitting at a table writing

Another thing you should be curious about is their physical appearance. Are they well-groomed and clean? If someone shows up looking sloppy and unkempt, they may treat your home similarly.


3. Run a background check

Generally, you don’t want someone with a serious criminal record residing in your home. So, request that the tenant provides a copy of a good conduct certificate. Since January 2018, new foreign expats applying for a work visa must obtain a certificate from their home country or country of residence for the past five years. Long-standing Dubai foreign expats can get the same certificate from the Dubai Police. If the prospective tenant has a criminal record, establish the context of the crime and how severe it is.

Accurate tenant screening means diving in and finding the truth. If they have ever been evicted, contact the previous landlord to determine the reasons. When all the information adds up, move to the next part of the tenant screening process.


4. Approval and signing of the lease

Once satisfied with the information collected from the tenant screening, congratulate the potential tenant for meeting the requirements. At this point, you can set the time, date and location for signing the lease. Instruct them to come with the payment and all proper identification documents. That includes their Emirates ID, a copy of their passport and visa as well.

a person holding a pen and signing a lease agreement

Ensure that the tenant is acquainted with the particulars of the lease and consents to every clause. If they have reservations with any terms, don’t coerce them to close the deal. Instead, find a tenant who agrees to your specifications. It will be much easier if both parties are happy with the lease terms. Until the contract has been signed and rent has been collected, don’t terminate the tenant screening process with any of the other potential tenants.


In conclusion

A proper tenant screening process ensures that you avoid the wrong people. Choosing the right tenant to live in your property saves both time and money. For example, averting costly evictions, damage to the property, and non-payment.

If you don’t want to go through this entire process and also don’t want to hire someone to do it, consider renting your apartment to Blueground. We are an award-winning real estate company that leases hundreds of properties in Dubai. Long-term contracts are signed on your behalf and we have all the necessary resources for tenant screening.

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