Basics of Tenant Screening
Most of the time you just want to find a tenant for your properties as quickly as possible. We get it. Finding new tenants can be busy, time-consuming work. However, we can’t help but stress the importance of in-depth tenant screening. To do this, we recommend two key reports: credit checks and background checks.
As with any other form of business, it is important to understand your potential tenant and have as much information as possible. A credit check will help you do this in three key ways. This is what a credit check offers and why it’s important:
What: Information such as name, address, social security number, etc.
Why: Tells you who your tenant really is and reduces risk of identity theft.
What: Between seven to ten years of financial information, including bank account activity and debt.
Why: Gives you a good picture of whether your tenant is financially stable. Negative information can show, such as late payments. It’s important to have financially reliable tenants to make sure that your future income is secure.
What: Bankruptcies, tax liens
Why: A history of bankruptcies is usually a red flag when analyzing one’s financial stability. Tax liens can show a failure to pay taxes, suggesting even more financial instability
As a landlord, you are hosting people in your property. You have a responsibility to make sure that potential tenants are safe not only for your property but the neighborhood as well. A background check will usually offer these pieces of information, but this varies based on the provider:
- Criminal Record: This one is somewhat self-explanatory. If a tenant has a long record of criminal activity, then they probably won’t stop breaking the law after they move into your property. This is a liability that you should take into account beforehand.
- Employment: A background check can show employment information. This, coupled with a credit report, can paint a pretty good picture of whether your tenant will pay their rent on time.
Eviction can be a hassle for a landlord. Confrontation with the tenant, paperwork, and eventually having to find a new tenant. Isn’t it best to pick tenants that you won’t need to evict? The best way to screen for this is to simply look at their eviction record. Here you’ll be able to see all prior evictions, even if they aren’t public record, and unlawful detainers. This will give you a general idea of how the person behaves as a tenant and any problems that may arise.
Cheapest Way to Do Tenant Screening
Now that we’ve shown the importance of tenant screening, you’re probably wondering which service you should pick. There are a variety of bundles and options offered by a wide array of companies. Here are a few options:
- SmartMove: Tenant Screening + Credit Report $35.00
- Cozy: Credit Report/Background Check (each) $24.99
- MyRental: Tenant Screening+Credit Report $24.99
- Leaserunner: Credit Report $20.00
- TurboTennant: Tenant Screening + Credit Report $35.00