In Houston, Texas, the rental market is growing by leaps and bounds. According to the Houston Association of REALTORS®, 2014 showed record levels for the local Houston housing market, with home sales prices and volume reaching record heights. At the same time, inventory levels dropped to record lows. Much of the frenetic real estate activity in Houston was driven by an additional 125,000 new jobs in the area that lured both buyers and renters from around the country. The Houston Chronicle reported that leases for single-family homes in the Houston area climbed by nearly 14 percent during the third quarter of last year. Condo and townhouse rentals increased by almost 23 percent during the same time period.
Numerous factors are driving the surge in rentals, including a tight inventory with few available options. As transplants from states such as Nevada and California flood into the Houston area, an inability to sell their homes in their former states frequently means an inability to buy in their new city, leading to an increased demand for rentals. Apartment Data Services reported that not only is demand on the rise in Houston but so too are rental prices. Overall, rents had increased by 8 percent in the greater Houston market as of July 2014. In certain submarkets, however, rents are rising at an even sharper level. For instance, West Memorial/Briar Forest saw a 14.4 percent increase, while Tomball/Far Northwest was not far behind with a 14.1 percent increase in rents.
The Need for Tenant Screening Services
The strong demand and spike in rents certainly spells good news for landlords in Houston, but it also means that property owners must take care to perform a tenant check before renting their property. With so many eager applicants, it can often be tempting to simply let a tenant background check slide. That can quickly spell trouble, however. Houston has one of the highest crime rates in the country of 62 crimes per 1,000 residents. The property crime rate in Houston is 51 crimes per 1,000 residents, according to Neighborhood Scout.
If you own rental property in Houston, you simply cannot afford to ignore the need to perform a tenant screening and background check. Even the most solid applicants can sometimes turn out to be a nightmare and place a landlord at liability for any criminal activity that takes place on the property. In addition to potential criminal activity, landlords must also be concerned about whether the tenant will pay the rent on time. Performing a tenant credit check can help to give landlords peace of mind. For landlords who think they do not have the time or money to run a renter credit check, free tenant screening services are available. One such option is available through VerticalRent, a firm that offers free tenant screening and lease management services. The burgeoning Houston rental market can be a boon for landlords. Taking the time to run a tenant background screening can help landlords protect their properties and investments.