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A common complaint among landlords is the tedious process of finding tenants. As a landlord, it is your responsibility to find suitable tenants due to the increase in tenant-related frauds in recent times. You may find it difficult, time-consuming, and overwhelming if you’re not an expert in property management. While it may seem like an excellent idea in the heat of the moment to ditch tenant screening, don’t even consider it. By not screening tenants properly, landlords risks having poor-quality tenants live in their rental properties.
You need to ensure that your tenants are qualified to handle or live in your property when renting it out. An incompetent tenant will only put you in a position to lose more money due to non-payment of rent, property damage, and litigation fees. It is, therefore, imperative to find the correct tenant who can provide you with a stress-free and problem-free way of living. It’s for this reason that tenant background checks are crucial. By conducting a tenant background check, you can identify the appropriate applicants for your rental property.

What is tenant verification?

If you allow unqualified tenants to move into your property, you may incur high expenses due to damage, missed payments, court actions, and turnover costs. The purpose of tenant screening is to determine if the applicant has a criminal or financial background that will prevent your rental profits from being drained away by the tenant.

How to properly conduct tenant background checks?

Address verification and verification of identity

One of the most fundamental requirements of a proper tenant background check is to have an identity and address verification. Ensure that your tenants have their real identities, and stay away from fraudsters who use fake identities to rent your properties. You can still verify the given residence address by contacting a local police station or a friend in that area, even if a physical visit to the address is not feasible. You can verify the applicant’s permanent residence address and reputation with their help.

Credit and employer verification

A credit check is necessary for a variety of reasons. A credit check reveals a person’s financial status and credit history spanning 7-10 years. You can prevent a lot of hassles and give yourself peace of mind by verifying your tenants’ ability to pay rent on time. Verify with the applicant’s employer if he works. If you have the applicant’s employment history and income on record, you can contact their employer and verify their employment status and income. It is also a good idea to confirm their previous employment.

Criminal history

Investigating their criminal record is another important aspect of a background check. Criminal history puts both you and your neighbors in danger. Convictions for criminal offenses do not all carry the same weight. Even minor traffic violations or anything from their youth may not be major red flags, but you should find out if there’s a pattern to their behavior. It’s important not to ignore serious records or those that are too lengthy. This could end up at the risk of endangering yourself and your property risk.

Police verification

Obtain a copy of the prospective tenant’s previous landlord’s Police Verification Report. According to district records, the police verification report clearly verifies the tenant has been the subject of any criminal matter and whether or not there is any criminal action pending against in the courts. Landlords are now required to obtain police verification. You can obtain a Police Verification Form from your local police station or download one from the state police website.

Inquiring with previous landlord

An applicant’s behavior is evidenced in this process, making it one of the most critical verification processes. Those seeking tenant background checks should seek information from their previous landlord. Several previous landlords can provide insight into an applicant’s behavior and how good they are at working with them. Ask all the questions so that you can gain a better understanding of how trustworthy they are as a tenant. Seeing this lets you know if a tenant pays rent on time, how they will treat the property, and so forth.

Legal and liability protection

Any landlord who screens a potential tenant must tread carefully during the application process. When screening tenants, federal and state laws are very strict about what is allowed and what is not allowed. To protect yourself as well as the rights of the tenant, you must make certain legal disclosures as soon as possible after learning a prospective tenant’s personal information. These include:

Applicants’s assurance: If any of the information on an applicant’s application ends up being incorrect, you will be able to reject them. It is a fair housing law that protects you from potential violations.

Liability:The clause releases you from any liability associated with negative screening results.

Extended authorization:As a result, the landlord can collect debts from a tenant after the tenant leaves the property.

Holding fee:If they are approved, this document details their security deposit terms. In case the deposit is not paid within a specific timeframe, you may also make the rental property available to other applicants.

Move-in-requirements:Before the tenant receives the keys to the property, it informs them of what is expected of them if they are approved. There would probably be an itemized list of all fees, utility changes, and security deposits.

Background checks of prospective tenants consider past convictions, credit records, evidence of income, as well as prior tenancies and employment records. Conducting a thorough tenant screening is a significant first step in your landlord-tenant relationship since you can get a sense of the type of person they are. By doing so, the whole community is provided with a safe, comfortable living environment. So, it is best to protect yourself by screening tenants for rental background checks. A professional background verification company can help landlord find the right tenants and screen them to make the process easier.