If you want to protect your rental property investment, then do a tenant background screening on prospective tenants. A good tenant is worth his weight in gold. A bad one is a headache and a half. Whether you own one property or a dozen, a tenant background screening can save you hassles and money down the road. It weeds out people with bad credit histories and criminal records. How does the process work?
Have All Prospective Tenants Complete a Rental Application
Most people who are looking for a property to lease know that they will probably have to complete a rental application. This document gives a landlord permission to investigate a prospective tenant and gathers the information needed to conduct the background screening. This information includes the prospective tenant's current address, current employer, bank account number, social security number and more. Charging an application fee helps screen out people who are not serious about leasing or who have a checkered past.
Perform a Background Check and a Credit Check
A thorough background screening includes both a background check and a credit check. The background check uncovers state and national criminal records, including arrests, warrants and court records. The credit check examines a prospective tenant's credit record from at least two of the three major credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. It should include bankruptcies, payment histories, tax liens, evictions and current and past employers. The Fair Credit Reporting Act says that landlords must obtain permission before a performing a credit check so ensure that the application contains this specific section.
Ask for Landlord References
A prospective applicant can put down his best friend as his reference, and it does not mean much. A former landlord, on the other hand, can verify previous rental dates and say if he would rent to the applicant again. This last bit of information is very telling.
Background screening is vital when it comes to leasing a property. Although screening cannot weed out all problem tenants, it goes a long way toward ensuring a better landlord experience.