When you are a landlord, your primary concern is who are you going to let into your property. Logically, you want to ensure that you are going to find responsible tenants that will take care of the property, pay the rent on time, and who are reliable. Even though it would be great to assume that your tenants are trustworthy, you can regret it in the end.
Therefore, as a landlord, you need to do everything that is in your power to find the red flags if there are some. This is why we are going to talk about the tenant screening process. In fact, this process is ideal to fully understand who your potential renters are and whether they are responsible and reliable. Now, you are probably wondering how you can run a background check on potential renters. Do not worry, because we got you covered with this comprehensive article that will tell you everything you should know about background checks and rental screening.
What is a background check and why is it important?
Before we start with a background chek, it is important to primarily define what this term actually stands for. In general, a background check represents an extensive overview that will display some significant information about aperson such as their criminal record, evictions, credit details as well as employment history, and many others. All of the gathered data will provide you with a clear picture of who the person you are going to let into your property is. In conclusion, background checks show:
- Eviction history
- Criminal records
- Public records
- Verification of identity
- Government watch list status
The biggest problem that many landlords are facing is renting property to someone they don’t really get a chance to know. Logically, in the best interest of every landlord is to lease the rental property to someone who will pay the rent on time, that will try to contribute to the community, and most important of all, maintain the given property clean and in the best possible condition.
Even though you can never be completely certain about a person, a background check will help you understand more about your potential residents and provide you a good insight into their past. For instance, many residents will avoid mentioning they have past evictions or criminal records. Therefore, with the background check, you will not be afraid of whether or not your potential residents are hiding something from you. In the end, you will know you have made the right choice.
How to run a background check on a tenant?
Now it is time to explain how you can run a proper background check on tenants. Below, you will see a step-by-step guide that we prepared for you! So, let’s get started.
You first need to get signed consent
The primary thing you need to know is that you are not able to do the background check on your potential tenants if you do not have their permission to do that. Therefore, before you even think about starting with this process, you need to get their written consent and approval, so you can continue with the rest of the steps. Many rental apps will include disclaimers that directly request permission to conduct a background check. It is illegal to obtain an activity of this kind and to check someone’s past and personal information if you are not allowed to.
Your rentals must know what you are doing with their personal information. It would be a wise idea to include in the rental application the section where you are asking for their consent about the background check. You also have another option to create a separate form for them where they are going to sign you the permission.
After that, you can obtain tenant information
You are going to need a couple of pieces of information from your potential residents in order to start with the process of background checks such as their names and social security number.
You must choose an approved background check service
When you are screening a tenant, you should know that you actually have different background check services that you can choose from. You can compare options and find the service that most suits your preferences. However, it is necessary to make sure that the service you select is approved by the Federal Trade Commission.
After you get the consent and approval from the residents and their personal information, you can pick the background service and run the report. Apps like Weelo can help you obtain an all-in-one instant tenant screening report.
The next thing is deciding how you are going to pay for the background check
You must know that every type of background check comes with a different price. We found the most budget-friendly option and mentioned it above. However, you can come across some services that are charging even $40.
You must create a plan ahead of time on how you’ll use the information
Logically, before you get the results of the report, you must create a plan in your mind about what you are going to do with the information and whether or not it is going to affect your decision. For instance, you must decide whether you want to give the property to people who have been evicted or have some other type of criminal record.
It is very important to be a fair landlord and to set your own limits. Everyone deserves the same standard and respect, therefore do not discriminate against people because of their problems in the past.