Advanced Guest Screening Techniques for Property Managers

Guest Screening, Property Manager Tips
Advanced Guest Screening Techniques for Property Managers

Does the thought of opening your rental property to strangers make you nervous? Without a guest screening strategy, your property could be at risk. The following guest screening tips will help you develop a screening process that’s fair to you and your valued guests.

What Is Guest Screening?

Guest screening is the process by which property owners/managers screen individuals before allowing them to stay as short-term guests. The screening process is designed to minimize the risk of non-payment, property damage, or illegal activities. This can extend to such activities as:

  • Credit card fraud
  • Burglary/larceny
  • Drug distribution
  • Theft by deception

These risks are not theoretical. In 2023, a pair of homeowners incurred $30,000 in damages to their vacation rental property. If this were to happen to you, even if you were able to recoup the money to pay for these damages, the cleanup and repair process could prevent you from renting to future guests.

The Benefits of Guest Screening for Property Managers

As a property manager, you’re under no obligation to develop a guest screening program. But doing so offers several key benefits, including the following:

Maintain a Strong ROI on Your Rental Properties

The most immediate benefit is a strong return on your investment (ROI) for your rental properties. Damage to your units may have to come out of your pocket, which can take a bite out of your overall profits.

Maintain a Solid Reputation 

Your guests’ behavior can reflect on your brand. When your property is occupied by disruptive guests — or those who engage in actual criminal behavior — it can damage your public reputation. Screening your guests can ensure that you maintain a positive reputation and professional credibility.

Maintain Community Relationships

Not every community is welcoming of rental properties, partly because of concerns about rowdy guests and undesirable activity. By introducing a screening program, you can maintain strong relationships with your neighbors and fellow business owners.

Guest Screening Tips for Property Managers

If you’re a property manager, you can mitigate your risk by implementing a guest screening policy. Guest screening for property managers may involve some or all of the following.

Start With a Soft Check

The first part of your screening process doesn’t have to be invasive. In fact, you can build a soft check directly into the application and intake process. Consider such questions as:

  • What is the length of your stay?
  • What is the reason for your visit?
  • How many guests will be staying?
  • Do you intend to bring any pets?
  • Do you smoke tobacco products?
  • Do you use any recreational drugs?

This may help you eliminate at least some guests right away if their lifestyle doesn’t align with your desired guests. For example, you may have to turn pet owners away if you’d prefer not to rent to guests with dogs or cats. Just make sure to list your rental terms publicly so guests understand your terms.

Require Background Checks for Rental Guests

It takes surprisingly little information to perform background checks for rental guests. With just a guest’s name, date of birth, and address, you can perform a complete background check. The best background checks will check the guest’s information using databases that include:

  • County and court records
  • National and criminal databases
  • Sex offender lists
  • International databases, such as Europol and Interpol

By performing background checks, you’ll develop a comprehensive guest profile that helps you make an informed decision about the risk posed to your property or to other guests.

Leverage Guest Screening Technology

Property managers may consider using guest screening technology that simplifies the entire process. Some outside providers can even assist you in developing an effective guest screening strategy. 

For example, Safely maintains a proprietary database of bad stays, including incidents where guests have caused damage to a rental property. Using this type of guest screening technology will empower you to better understand each applicant’s history and make a well-informed decision about renting to that applicant in the future.

Comply With Legal Regulations

What if your screening process causes you to turn down an applicant? Is guest screening truly legal? The answer is yes, and guest screening providers will adhere to the terms of the Fair Credit Reporting Act to inform applicants that they’ve been denied.

By complying with established regulations, you’ll be legally able to deny applications without any pushback or litigation. As a result, you’ll be protected not only from unruly guest behavior but also from legal action or accusations of unfair screening processes.

Set Clear Expectations

Finally, once you decide to approve a vacation guest, it’s important to set clear expectations. Your rental agreement should make plain what you, the property owner is responsible for and what you expect from the guests. This can include things like:

  • Check-in/check-out procedures
  • Conditions regarding security deposits
  • Rules about noise levels
  • Rules about visitors
  • Restrictions on pets (number and type)
  • Cancellation policy

Your guests should read and sign this agreement prior to arrival. Enforcing this agreement will prevent you from experiencing future problems with guests who don’t abide by your rental terms.

What Is Guest Screening Technology?

Property managers are increasingly turning to guest screening platforms for rapid, reliable results. If you’re already using a property management system (PMS), your guest screening platform can provide integrations for a seamless experience.

The results are fast, which allows you to respond quickly to rental applications and keep your guests happy. Additionally, you’ll have the most accurate, fact-based assessment to help you make decisions about who you choose to accept as rentors.

Get Superior Protection with Safely

Using these guest screening tips will help you maintain a strong stream of guests while preserving the integrity of your rental business. After all, your rental properties deserve a superior level of protection. 

Safely can provide that with our guest screening technology and industry-leading SafelyScore. Your property will be protected from unwanted and unauthorized activity, and your other guests will enjoy a much more positive experience as a result. Contact Safely to get started today. Our specialists can assist you with guest screening technology and tips to give you greater confidence in your rental experience.

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Amber is the Claims Leader at Safely and has been with the company for over four years. She manages a team of claims adjusters, working with company leadership to improve processes, maintain accurate documentation and educate team members across various departments on best practices. Before joining Safely, Amber worked as a GAP Adjuster Supervisor. Her early career includes serving as a customer service representative and unit manager at Assurant Specialty Properties as well as business operations manager at Farmers Insurance. Amber was born in Dayton, Ohio and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance.

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