Steps to Take in Screening a Prospective Tenant
Most landlords do not have the time to run extensive background checks on their tenants beyond the basic documents provided. Most landlords assume the best about a prospective tenant. While there may be limited ways to check the potential tenants, here are some steps a landlord can take.
Check for Tenant’s Work Permit and Student Pass
Check the validity of an employment pass online, or visit the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) website to check the validity of a student pass. This is an essential step to ensure the tenant’s work permit or a student pass is valid.
You need to look beyond the basic documents such as their passports, which are usually produced. For extra precaution, it may be a good idea to call the employer of the potential tenant to verify his position at the work place.
For tenants who are locals, a copy of their NRIC and their name cards will do.
If Your Tenant has a Credit Score, Request to See It
Most locals and foreigners who have lived in Singapore for some time have a credit score. New foreigners in Singapore may not have any credit records.
You are unable to check the potential tenants’ credit scores with the Credit Bureau of Singapore directly as they are the only ones who can apply for it. However, you can request for them to show it to you. It costs around $6.50 to obtain one. You may want to compensate the prospective tenant for that. This is subjected to their agreement in doing so.
A good credit standing is often a good benchmark to determine the potential tenant’s reliability in paying the rent on time. You should be a little leery if tenants react defensively to the request, or if you see a credit score with a grade of CC or below.
A poor credit score does not necessarily mean your tenant would be unable to pay the rent. It does, however, imply that they could be less than responsible when it comes to paying rent on time.
Request to look at proof of income sources such as the tenant’s IRAS tax forms, IR8A or NOA, as payslips can be easily faked or manipulated.
Knowing tenant’s typical working hours and visitors’ frequency
This is to ensure there would not be problems with other residents or co-tenants when it comes to their working hours and visitors dropping by.
For example, if your prospective tenant constantly comes home during wee hours, this may pose a noise issue for your neighbours and/ or co-tenants in the same unit. You need to be aware of factors like this before committing to the tenancy.
Check if the tenant smokes
If you disallow smoking within the house, this needs to be settled before the TA is signed. The prospective tenant needs to be told in advance that smoking is not allowed in the house. You can also set some ground rules, such as requiring the tenant to open the windows or step out of the house if he or she needs to smoke.
If you have co-tenants who are unrelated to that particular tenant in the same unit, then you will need to make sure that they are alright with having a smoker in the same household, state clearly the boundaries and make necessary agreements.