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ADU: Screening and Selecting Coliving Tenants

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Adu: Screening And Selecting Coliving Tenants

For many Americans who want to start their own property business, the introduction of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) has truly become a magic wand. Because of their benefits, one can hardly expect homeowners without a unit on their lot and a rental application form in their pockets.

Planning to rent out a housing unit consists of many issues to solve. However, the question of finding the right tenants has always been under heated discussion in the community of homeowners. It becomes even sharper if we talk about selecting tenants that would coexist in your units. The process of finding the right ones is called tenant screening, and it is, according to certain homeowners with experience in this matter, one of the most vital parts of renting out an ADU.

To get rental income, avoid potential property damage, and encourage other tenants to use your property as a living space, tenant screening should be done excellently. We hope that this article will answer most of your questions, and you will be able to set up your rental business as soon as possible and will be able to screen tenants with ease.

Conducting background checks on potential coliving tenants

Finding tenants is quite a task, but finding several tenants that will live together turns this mission into an almost impossible one. The grandiosity of this process scares away many homeowners, but we are sure that understanding it may take away many of your concerns. Let's find out what background checks consist of and what benefits it has.

Criminal background checks

Nobody wants to live next to a serial killer (even an ex-one), but living with a serial killer may be an impassable obstacle to finding prospective tenants. However, if you do these checks, you will have clear info on a person's criminal history. The result of this process will be the reduction of risks that may occur while living together and a decrease in your chances of possible problems with the law because of their criminal activities.

Credit history screening

For every homeowner, getting money is an essential thing, and credit history checks can help you carefully determine whether your future tenant is even able to pay for living in your granny flat. Moreover, you can deduce many other things; for example, the payment history can tell you whether they will pay the rent on time or it will be overdue.

Rental history

To complete the picture of a tenant, checking their previous relationships with other homeowners is not excessive. It will give you info about their reliability or the ability to follow the lease agreements, which is important when working with renters. To obtain this precious info, you can talk to the previous landlords or property managers this renter worked with.

Developing a screening process for coliving applicants

A well-developed screening process allows you to save time on creating a special one for every potential tenant who wants to live in your accessory dwelling unit and get them accepted (or not) faster. By checking every applicant using a special series of steps, you can automate the process, which will bring you additional income in the end.

The whole process may consist of the following steps:

  1. Application form
  2. Background checks (including criminal and credit history checks)
  3. Face-to-face interview
  4. Reference checks

Having completed these steps, or any other that you find necessary, you will be able to verify every tenant and ensure that they won't bring you any headaches. Be attentive to the application form so as to rent out the housing unit correctly; homeowners take the help of lawyers.

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Evaluating credit scores and financial stability of potential tenants

The financial stability of a tenant is what will keep your rental business afloat. On the contrary, working with renters who cannot pay you the rent is not the right option for having a business. First, you need to check the consistency of the previous payments of possible tenants. This will show their level of responsibility and the higher chances of following the lease agreement.

Next, ask for the credit reports. Here you have to look for any mismatches in payment history or outstanding debts, as they usually give a bigger picture of the tenant. Last but not least, using credit scores as an indicator of creditworthiness is the right idea if it has come to your mind. The higher the score is, the better the chances that you have come across a reliable tenant.

Verifying employment and income of coliving applicants

Qualified tenants have to pay rent whenever they wish, be it weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Hence, getting money is essential for them. Most of the dwellers get the resources from their work, and your tenants are likely, no exception.


There are several ways you can check the employment of a tenant. If possible, ask them to provide employment letters from their current employer or contact them directly to check the details provided by a tenant. However, having encountered self-employed people, you have to request info like tax returns or profit – this will help you verify their solvency.


For sure, the income of qualified tenants should surpass the rent, as on the contrary, they won't be able to pay you at all. Also, this income should be stable if you opt for long-term rental. The key indicators of it are working on established businesses or longer tenures.

Assessing the compatibility of potential coliving tenants

Before you select the right applicant from a pool of potential tenants, you have to assess their compatibility, as the ones that fit each other will provide peaceful and harmonious living spaces for each other. To help you address the problem, there is a set of considerations and variants of comparison.

You can compare the tenants that apply to live in your unit on the following bases:

Having compared the possible dwellers of your accessory dwelling unit, you will roughly understand whether they fit each other and maybe note what problems may occur.

Checking references from previous landlords or roommates

In addition to various documents and other checks, the experience of a previous landlord and roommate is also an important part of the screening program. To avoid property damage or any headaches, pay attention to this information. The homeowners will tell you more about the material size of the matter: whether the payment was overdue, was the property damaged in any way, and how much money the tenant could generate before moving away.

As for the roommates, they can provide you with info concerning the social bounds.

They can answer your questions about whether they could fit in the community, whether there were any harsh arguments during the period of living, and how the tenant was able to address the problems that occurred.

Reviewing the criminal history of potential coliving tenants

One more step to complete the evaluation of your applicant is finding out everything about their criminal past, as no one wants to live next to a criminal, even a past one. With many services that provide background checks, you will do it with ease. However, don't forget to inform the tenants about this process and the reasoning behind it to avoid any inconvenience.

The most important element that you should pay attention to here is criminal offenses. If the applicant has offenses related to violence, theft, or sexual misconduct, then probably they are not the person you would like to see in your neighborhood.

Remember to show an individualized approach to every tenant like this, and don't fall into discrimination in any way.

Evaluating the cleanliness and organization of potential tenants

Living with an untidy person can turn into a disaster at any moment. Piles of dirty dishes, clothes lying all over the floor, or a greasy floor sucks all the resources out of another person who tries to keep the ADU clean. However, homeowners can avoid allowing such people to enter their property, and to do so, the proper analysis and evaluation are vital.

To evaluate the cleanliness and organization of a tenant, commit the following actions:

  1. Ask the right questions during the interview
  2. Observe their previous living space
  3. Ask about their cleaning routines
  4. Pay attention to the personal hygiene
  5. Assess shared living experience

By doing these actions, it will be much easier for you to determine the cleanliness of a potential dweller. Having a tenant who not only pays rent but also keeps the accessory dwelling unit clean changes everything.

Assessing the communication skills of potential coliving tenants

Another key element of co-living is communication skills. It is vital that every tenant knows how to solve conflicts, how to speak their mind, or how to avoid difficult situations. The main way of assessing communication skills is by interviewing the tenant.

First, ensure that they are a good and active listener. Check their engagement in the conversation by asking questions. Then, notice how well they express their thoughts, needs, and expectations. This is a valuable skill and will help them a lot while living with another tenant. Lastly, complete the interview by conducting a conflict resolution simulation. Note how they offer solutions to the problems or see the situation from different points of view.

Also, to complete the assessment during the application process, trust your gut feeling. It will make renting out a unit more personal and trustworthy.

Verifying the identity of potential coliving tenants through identification documents.

Adu: Screening And Selecting Coliving Tenants

Verifying the documents of people who rent your property is the last step of the application process, and the result will tell you whether the tenant should be accepted or you should encourage them to find another rental unit. The verification goes down in the form of simple checks of the necessary information. It includes the comparison of photos, signatures, and information. Moreover, you can ask to provide additional documents to cover all the aspects of verification.

Also, to make the verification easier and more trustworthy, you can use the screen of your mobile phone. On the Internet, it is easy to find special instruments to verify the authenticity of documents.

Frequently Asked Questions — FAQ

What influences the cost of accessory dwelling units?

Yes, building your own accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is not a cheap process. In the planning, you can find figures connected with cost, and normally, the materials, design, or size of an accessory dwelling unit influence the construction. However, if you rent out the unit, you will compensate for the cost rather fast. Also, sometimes it is possible to get funding if you apply to certain organizations that specialize in funding accessory dwelling units.

What are the benefits of having accessory dwelling units?

The benefits of accessory dwelling units are connected with their versatility. Normally, after construction, homeowners use them in many ways. It can be renting them out to get extra resources like money, or if they don't want to engage in a rental program, they can use the property for aging parents or as a place for hobbies. Using the units can take any form as long as it complies with laws.

What will influence the resources I get from renting out accessory dwelling units?

The demand for your ADU depends on many factors. Tenants that apply for your housing unit will look at where the unit stands, whether the pets are allowed, what benefits they will have from living on your property, and the amount of documents they need to fill out to go through the application process. Certain homeowners prefer planning carefully beforehand how many resources they will get and what benefits it will bring if they rent out an ADU.

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