Any landlord may wish to live in peace without worrying about their rented properties. But, worries of having their properties destroyed or stolen or raided through the police because of illegal activities is a superb source of anxiety. Good if those so-called “Landlord Nightmares” haven’t happened to you yet but, for anyone who is negligent to screen prospective tenants, it is going to surely knock on your door one day.
It must be a cause of concern available for you because in the state of Washington alone, around 50 percent of all residential drug labs are found on rented properties. To prevent “Landlord Nightmares”, you should conduct a thorough tenant background screening to test to all your applicants. So protect your properties, your earnings and your existing tenants by understanding the background of those who apply on your vacant properties.
Several of the areas which you can check up on your potential tenants are:
• Criminal offender records
• Employment Records
• Address History
Fortunately, there are property management software, landlord software and association management software which may have built-in tenant screening capabilities that can perform the job for you more efficiently and effectively.
The help of these tenant screening features of property management software, landlord software and association management software include but are not limited to:
• National Criminal Super Search
• SSN Validation
• Bankruptcies, Evictions and Judgments Check
• Address History Check
Tenant background screening features of property management software, landlord software and association management software enable you to quickly and thoroughly check and verify the info of potential tenants at the budget-friendly price. With the information you gathered, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision on if you should admit or reject any rental application.
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Applicant screening is among the most critical steps for every landlord and property management company to undertake. Tenant Background Screening an applicant is the better way to determine if these are a good credit risk for your apartment or community. Regardless of the number of apartment units that you have available for rent, you need to utilize at least many of the many different processes that you can get to you.
The first thing you must determine is if you are going to screen all of your applicants yourself, or should you be going to use a resident screening company. If you’d rather not perform the approval process manually, there are lots of screening companies focusing on the apartment industry who, for a fee, can be contracted to complete at least part of the screening process. It doesn’t matter how your applicants are screened, you’ll want to make sure that the following items are evaluated.
1. Appraisal of creditworthiness: Be sure that your application informs a criminal record that you will be checking their credit, which they’ve signed off about this step. You will need to predetermine what your business philosophy is going to be when it comes to how you interpret tenants’ credit histories. As an example, some property management companies tend not to count medical bills against their applicants. However, a lot of companies do have a guideline in place that prohibits applicants from becoming residents whenever they owe money for the utility companies who service the city they are attempting to transfer to.
2. Landlord verification: This should be verified by sending a release form, signed through the applicant, to his current or previous landlord. Be sure you avoid asking questions that violate local and federal Fair Housing laws.
3. Employment verification: This can be verified either through pay stubs, a letter from the employer on company letterhead, or possibly a phone call made to the employer.
4. Criminal Background: Not every landlord or property management company undertakes this step of the verification process, but the majority industry experts encourage it. Again, you’ll need to determine your company philosophy regarding which crimes are forgivable, which crimes are forgivable after a pre-determined number of years, and which crimes should never be forgivable. If you choose not to start a complete criminal background check, you might want to consider at least building a sex offender registry check. Much like the credit check, ensure that the applicant has been informed in some recoverable format that a criminal background check is part of the verification process.
There exists, of course, a cost included in running a credit check along with a criminal background report. Many organizations have a written rule in place that they don’t operate a criminal check if the financial lending check fails to meet their specified criteria. Fair Housing laws, which can be applicable in virtually all rental situations in the United States, require you to screen your applicants in the same way. So once you’ve determined the process you want to use, it’s crucial for you to use it across the board. If at any time you decide to change your screening criteria you will need to document the changes, combined with the date and time, in writing and keep a copy of it on file. This will assist if a Fair Housing discrimination suit is ever filed against you.