Tenant Background Screening: Uncovering the Truth

tenantriskverification February 13, 2012 0

By Jennifer

First, let’s spend a moment discussing the rental application itself, and what data you’ll want to make sure you collect.  Make sure each applicant fills inside their current landlord’s name and number on the rental application, as you’ll wish to call them for a reference about what kind of tenant a criminal record is. Granted, tenants can lie and complete a friend’s name and number within the rental application, or sometimes their existing landlord will be so desperate to remove them that they will lie, but this isn’t a fact of life, and when it is, you are able to usually tell that something is wrong.

Make sure the applicant fills in their employment and income data within the rental application at the same time, including a supervisor’s name and contact number, so you can verify the data. When you call the supervisor to ensure the applicant’s employment and income, also verify which kind of employee they are, along with the chances of their continued employment. Determine the rental applicants’ pet and child status: have they got children or pets? What number of? What ages? What breeds? We’ll talk more in a moment about discrimination, but it’s worth noting here that you cannot, under any circumstances, deny a rental application because of their familial status, including anything to do with their children. Don’t ever list children like a reason why you denied someone’s rental application, it’s illegal.

You’ll want to collect information about their assets, like vehicles, bank accounts, or some other kind of property. This may seem unnecessary, but also in a year from now as soon as your tenants default for their rent and leave your rental in a state of shambles, you’ll know how to collect the money from their store after winning a judgment in the courtroom.  Finally, make sure your rental application has a section for them to state whether they’ve ever been evicted, been sued, been found guilty of a felony, along with such disclosures. As long as they go bad as a tenant, therefore you discover they’ve lied about one of those issues, you’ll have a signed statement of perjury you are able to show in rent court.

Apart from verifying their rental history, employment, and income, you’ll like to pull some background reports around the rental applicants from businesses. To be able to do this legally, you’ll need a release clause inside the rental application, authorizing you to perform any background checks necessary to evaluate them as prospective tenants. First, check their credit history, and look for late payments, look for bankruptcies, and look for their number of debt (any of these are incredibly bad indicators). Second, check their criminal background, for obvious reasons. Third, check their eviction history, and, if available, their checking history to ensure they aren’t in the habit of writing bad checks. Say what you should about the entitlement to second chances, everybody is either committed to paying their bills or they’re not; tenants who had been evicted once are astronomically more prone to default on their rental payments again.

Finally, a thing on discrimination. The government Fair Housing Act outlaws denying any rental application based on the applicants’ race, color, national heritage, religion, gender, disability, and familial status. If people takes you to court over this matter, you’ll have to prove that you chose a different tenant on the suing applicant for a reason in addition to any of those seven reasons, which can be yet another reason why you need to collect detailed rental applications, perform detailed background record checks, and keep records coming from all of them for at least half a year. If a rejected rental applicant asks you the reason why you rejected their rental application, tell them you’ll have to look up their application to confirm, and then mail them instructions specifying their credit, income, employment, or housing history.

As a last note within the matter, it is easy to unknowingly break this law, by stating with your advertisement for the property that you’d prefer a certain type of person (including “looking for a young couple…”). Be extremely careful in order to avoid these mistakes, and also, since some states have different laws preparing the federal law, be sure to check your state’s laws likewise. All of this trouble in order to sign a rental agreement may appear like a lot of work, however when you find a good tenant, who will pay rent on time, keep your investment property clean, and not sue you, you’ll be glad you spent a little bit more effort on tenant screening.

Owning apartment can be one of the most rewarding investment experiences you could have. Of course, that all depends on whether or not you have good tenants. An unsatisfactory tenant can ruin your experience as well as your entire view of renting property. This is why screening your tenants thoroughly when you rent to them is crucial. You need to know on the front, exactly what you’re getting in to. You have to know if the tenant could destroy your property and when they will pay their bills promptly. While only a psychic could tell you for sure, a good screening process can provide you with a good idea of what you should expect. So how do you properly screen a tenant and what if you ever look for?

The first thing that you need to do is you can keep them fill out a detailed rental application. Ask them for personal references and past landlords. Get contact information like them. Once you find the contact information, actually call them and find out about the potential tenant. So many people are lazy and do not actually contact the references which are listed. They go strictly from a first impression together with the tenant and ignore all of the other information presented to them. Quite often, the references listed on there will only say glowing reasons for the potential tenant. The tenant isn’t gonna list someone that will talk badly about them. The references generally are a friend from school, their cousin, and their grandma. Therefore, you’ll have to talk to someone that doesn’t have a very real relationship with these.

The former landlords can certainly help you out. By speaking with a former landlord, they are able to provide you with unbiased information. They’re going to tell you if their rent payments were continually late or in time. They will let you know how well they took good care of the property that they lived in. Did they trash the property when they left? Did they look after everything and leave it like they think it is? These are all things you need to know before you ought to be willing to let someone relax in your rental house. As long as they can’t provide a rental history, you should move on to someone that can.

One other popular method of finding out about your prospective tenant is progressing a background check. This may include checking their credit profile as well. Of course, you should obtain their permission if you need to check their credit. Checking their credit report is a good way to observe they handle their. You will be able to get a perception of whether or not they pay the those who they owe money to. A credentials check can give you a myriad of valuable information, including if they have a criminal record. Keep many of these things in mind before you let a tenant move into your rental property.

Source: newsalloy

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