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Property Management – An 8 Part Series

Part 4-Tenant Placement

Tenant Placement is the process of signing a lease or rental agreement on a residential property for rent. There are many steps from beginning to end to finalize a signed lease agreement. These steps include but are not limited to screening verifications of credit scores, tenant references, proof of employment/income, criminal background checks, and past evictions. It is important that landlords/property managers have knowledge of the landlord/tenant laws to avoid any possible litigation while going through the tenant placement process. The process can be narrowed down to four basic procedures, the applications process, homeowner’s association (HOA) requirements, signing of the lease, and collection and accountability of all funds.

The Application Process

Once a prospective tenant has previewed a rental property and decides to move forward, the first step to tenant placement is completing the application. Every tenant over the age of 18 will have to submit an application. Outside of the general information of name, date of birth, social security number, current address, phone number and email address, tenants can also expect screening verification of credit scores, tenant references, proof of employment/income, criminal background checks, and past evictions. They will also have to provide photo ID. Many property management companies provide an “on-line” application process. We strongly advise against that as to not release personal information over the internet. Property rental scams rank among the top 5 scams in the nation for fraud and cyber thefts. Application fees vary, but usually cost between $50.00-$75.00 per applicant. Prospective tenants should also inquire as to all the fees, deposits, and rents due at the time of signing a lease. Industry standards are first and last month's rent, security deposit, late fees, and non-refundable pet fee if allowed.

Restrictions and Homeowners Association Requirements

It is important that prospective tenants know before signing any rental lease or make an application that they investigate the requirements of the homeowner’s association (HOA). Some rental properties allow pets (with a non-refundable fee) and others do not. HOA’s have restrictions that may not be compatible with your lifestyle. Prospective tenants need to do “their homework” and make sure your new residence is compatible to the wants and needs of your lifestyle.

Signing of the Lease

Best practices recommend a walkthrough of the property with tenant(s) and landlord/property manager. Professional property managers will date and videotape the property while vacant before a tenant moves in, so that all are in agreement as to the move in condition. All issues should be noted in writing and signed by all parties before the signing of the lease agreement. Professional standards suggest that property managers go over the entire lease with the tenant and address any questions or concerns that may have at that time. Once all parties are in agreement, the lease is signed and all fees are paid. The link below is of additional information important for prospective renters before signing the lease and moving in.

What to Expect Before Moving In

Accountability of All Funds

It is suggested that prospective tenants get everything in writing as well as written receipts. When working with a professional property management company, all accounts must balance and all fees accounted for. If the landlord/property manager does not provide written receipts, request them. Property managers and tenants should keep written records of all funds transferred.

The key to successful property management and tenant relationship is communication. Whether written or verbal, it is important for landlords/property managers and tenants to have open door communications to avoid any misunderstands and/or possible legal action. Good property management and valued tenants go hand-in-hand, where both parties prosper and avoid costly turnover.


Professional property management requires knowledge, experience, and a commitment to best practices. This 8-part series is an outline of what to expect and require from a property manager, whether you are a property owner or perspective tenant. The responsibilities to both tenant and property owner require exceptional communication skills, professional marketing and technology tools, accounting abilities, knowledge of the landlord laws, and public relation proficiencies. The First Coast Realty Property Management Division offers all of this and more. Reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter and we would be happy to walk you through our two great programs or speak to our property manager by calling/texting today 904-494-8408 or email


About the Authors: The video "Property Management-An 8 Part Series" was provided by Broker and Broker-Associate Gene and Libby Johnson with First Coast Realty Inc. We have built a top notch Rental Division, sure to meet everyone's need. We service St Augustine, Palm Coast, Palatka, and Jacksonville areas.

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