Tenant screening involves conducting background checks on potential tenants. Typical checks include tenantcredit check, criminal background check, and tenant rental history. Landlords and rental property managers also have the option to check previous addresses, identity and name validation, address validation, evictions, liens, bankruptcies, and sex offender status.
Here are some dos and don’ts to consider when making the decision to screen tenants:
- Do keep the screening process consistent: screen every applicant, every time.
- Don’t make yourself vulnerable to discrimination suits by screening applicants based on appearance or other subjective attributes.
- Don’t skip the tenant screening for an applicant who speaks well or dresses nicely, or the tenant applicant who drives a nice car—again, these are subjective observations that do not mean they will pay rent on time.
- Do protect your other tenants and the neighbors surrounding your rental property by including criminal history in your background check process.
- Do choose your screening service carefully. Are they a Better Business Bureau Accredited Business and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)-Compliant Consumer Reporting Agency? Is the staff FCRA Certified and Bonded?
- Do ensure that your screening service employs high security measures, such as fingerprint scanners, controlled access, monitored facilities, and proper disposal techniques.
- Don’t use a screening service without nationwide coverage and access to all three credit bureaus.
- Do keep all information learned from a tenant credit report in strictest confidence.
- Don’t neglect to provide a tenant applicant with a copy of the report, and to advise them in writing if you reject them for credit reasons.