Screening Tenants Checklist

If you have residential rental property, you should carefully screen every prospective tenant. Good screening can make the difference between rent paid on time and a legal nightmare. Landlords usually perform a casual screening, however a thorough screening of every tenant doesn’t cost much and will more than pay for itself in the long term.

Review a Credit Report

Many online services exist which run credit checks on prospective tenants for landlords. In case you have plenty of rental properties, a monthly subscription might be the most cost-effective alternative, but if you have just one or a couple of rental properties, you can pay for every credit check as required. You should always receive a signed release from the prospective tenant before asking a credit report. When you get the credit file, review every delinquency carefully and ask for an explanation. Except in extraordinary circumstances, such as prolonged illness or lack of employment, bankruptcies and charge-offs are often an indicator of a person’s willingness to pay his invoices.

Perform a Criminal Background Check

Many landlords do not pay for a criminal history check and later regret it. A criminal history check will reveal sexual predators, arrests for destruction of personal land and domestic violence convictions, all of which you wish to keep far, far away from your rental property. Some online services offer a criminal history check together with a credit check for an additional fee. Much like all the credit check, possess the prospective tenant sign a release.

Verify Employment

It does you no good to request information that you don’t verify. Everyone can claim to get a job making a certain amount of money, and perhaps even reveal test stubs, but when the person was recently laid off or fired, you wouldn’t understand from the documentation provided. A quick call to a employer will allow you to confirm that the prospective tenant is employed and expected to remain employed to the best of their employer’s knowledge. While many employers won’t reveal a worker’s salary, they will usually confirm the information if you have it.

Telephone Past Landlords

A listing of previous addresses with the landlord’s name and contact information is a standard petition on most rental applications, but many landlords overlook this advice and do not call the previous landlord to get references. It is a massive error to stop short of the measure as a previous landlord can offer you advice that’s not documented on a credit report or criminal history check. If the authorities were called to the preceding address on events, but did not file a report, the calls won’t look on a criminal history . In case the tenant always paid late, but paid before the 30-day cutoff for reporting that the delinquency to the credit unions, the slow pays won’t appear on a credit report. If the prospective tenant damaged the rental unit but compensated for the compensation, those fees won’t show on any desktop data assessed, nor does a background check reveal noise violations or parking violations.

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