How to Perform a Tenant Background Check

How to Perform a Tenant Background Check

As a property owner, you want to be sure that you rent to good tenants. Unfortunately, trying to figure out the character of your rental applicants isn't always easy to do.

The world is full of people who wouldn't be good to rent to. They destroy property, make too much noise, and create drama with neighbors.

As a landlord, you are also responsible for safety. You should not rent to anyone who may be dangerous to children or your other tenants.

This is why it's important to do a basic background check before you rent to anyone. Doing a background check on prospective tenants will help you make sure you don't rent to anyone who's likely to be a troublemaker.

Here's all you need to know about the process, so you can protect yourself and your property.

Performing an Online Background Check

If you're not already familiar with online background checks, they can be a great way to find data on prospective renters.

Online background checks can reveal everything from past addresses and roommates to employment history and social media handles. Because so much of our lives are online now, online searches can reveal a lot about a person.

You'll need to use a reputable company and follow all legal requirements to perform an online background check successfully.

Checking Background References

One way to do tenant screening is to ask for references. Former landlords and neighbors usually know if a person is reliable and easy to get along with.

If you do a criminal background check, be sure to use a reputable background checking service. If you don't have the time, ask your property management service to do this for you. Good sites can scan court records and provide up-to-date information.

Asking for Income Verification

Sometimes the best background check is to request income verification. It helps you see if a potential renter can afford to rent from you.

So what should you do, if someone's income isn't enough? If you rent to students and their income is only part-time, ask for a deposit or co-signer.

You can get around almost all income challenges by asking for a deposit upfront or having someone guarantee that they can cover the full cost of the rent.

Checking Credit Reports

An advanced background check combines a criminal background check and reference checks with a credit check.

Once again, if your potential renter doesn't have the best credit, you can get around this. Requiring a co-signer or a larger deposit should provide enough of a guarantee that you'll get the rent no matter what. 

Following All Legal Requirements

Whenever you do a background check it's important to follow all local and national legal requirements. If you're not sure what these guidelines are, check with your business attorney for details.

Although it's an extra step in renting your property, a background check is worth your time. It will help you avoid time-consuming problems and keep your reputation as a safe property intact.

To find out more about background checks and the tenant screening process, get in touch. We're experienced professionals who can guide you through all you need to know about successful property management. We'll be happy to answer any questions you may have, so contact us today!

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