Tenant Screening – Important Things You Need to Know

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Tenant screening is the process of evaluating prospective tenants. Landlords and property managers use it to evaluate identify of qualified prospective tenants. It is intended to ensure that the tenant has a desirable history of fulfilling lease or rental agreement, and take good care of the property entrusted to them.

A typical background check for renters encompasses:

County or State Criminal Record Check

A criminal record can be a red flag but some landlords don’t really make it a basis for denying someone from renting an apartment. If you are a landlord and you want to deny a prospective tenant’s application, you should notify him/her in writing and state your reasons for doing so.

Sex Offender Registry Check

Many landlords cannot allow sex offenders to live in their property. It is in fact one of the most important checks they do when screening tenant-applicants.

Credit Report

A person’s credit history is an important factor you can use to make sure that tenants are financially responsible to rent or lease a property. You won’t be able to see their credit score, but the report will let you know their loan amounts, outstanding debts, bankruptcies and past lawsuits for failure to pay rent.

Proof of Income

Some landlords are very meticulous about the tenant’s capacity to pay rent. They go to the extent of asking prospective renters for paycheck stubs or any proof of income.

Previous Landlord References

One of the most important things a landlord will ask potential tenants are references from previous landlords. As landlord, you can use these references to know how long that tenant has rented a property and ask if the tenant was paying rent on time or if he/she has ever been evicted.

Employment History

You may ask you prospective renter their employment history. This will ensure that your prospect is currently employed. Additionally, you may also call your prospect tenant’s employer to ask if he/she is responsible and trustworthy as an employee. The information you get will form part of your basis for accepting or rejecting them as tenant.

The Benefits of Tenant Screening

Tenant screening is beneficial to landlords because it helps to minimize the risk of taking in undesirable tenants. People who don’t pay rent, don’t treat rented property as their own, or have criminal records are a threat not only to your property but to your other tenants as well. So before accepting someone’s request to rent your property, be sure to do a renter background screening. This will help you to identify responsible tenants and keep your property and business safeguarded.


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    • Lori

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