Rental property has always been a favorite business for those with the discipline and stamina to take on being a landlord. And ever since there’s been a rental property, there’s been a tenant willing to destroy it. The damage a tenant can inflict on your property is virtually limitless, but a quality tenant background screening can help you avoid the bad apples. Here are the four essential parts of a tenant background screening process.
The Rental Application
The rental application is the primary piece of information you'll be collecting. It gathers the essential details of the person or family applying to stay in your property. It reveals past addresses, family members that will be on the property, prior addresses with rental payment, income sources, pets, and much more. Based on the agreements you set in place, this document lets you know who they are and if they comply with the requirements you make.
Running a credit score is a must, even though it might feel intrusive. This is not an uncommon practice in the rental sector and requires some additional information, namely the potential tenant's social security number. You should run one on each adult living in the property. Credit scores will show the property manager existing debt and monthly payment liabilities. This can help assess whether or not you think the person is going to be able to afford your property.
Criminal Background Check
We know requiring a criminal background check can be awkward to require, but let's face it; criminals aren't exactly always forthcoming on applications. Having a criminal record does not mean that the person won't be a good tenant, but it can be an indicator of who they are and how they've chosen to live their life. Of course, some crimes might be deal breakers for you as a landlord, and that is perfectly fine. Your intuition and judgment, as well as the guidelines you set for your properties, are always the best guide. What the criminal check does is ensure you have all the right information to make an informed decision.
An Eviction report is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, a detailed list of all the previous properties from which a potential tenant has been evicted. This will give the reason for the eviction, the person expelling, a case reference number and any other pertinent details needed. You may find that the eviction was part of the larger story of the loss of a job and wages, in which case, you have to make a judgment call as a landlord. An eviction report is just one side of the story with many possible explanations. Because it is an objective report, it is the most beneficial when making a decision to lease to possible tenants.
As a landlord or property manager, having the right tools to help you make decisions is vital. A good tenant background screening process can save you a lot of headache in the future. Knowing your tenant before you enter an agreement is imperative for your rental property success.
About the author
Matt Angerer is the Founder and President of VerticalRent. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics that help Landlords, Property Managers, and Renters across America. He is particularly interested in helping renters understand their local marketplace, pick the best places to live, and find an awesome roommate. Since 2011, VerticalRent has grown to service over 100,000 landlords and renters across America.