Landlords that have had to deal with dramatic clients understand the importance of finding out the character and other details of people before they hand them the keys to their apartment. Some of the worst case scenarios that play out when a landlord is ignorant about their tenants include the eerily familiar yellow police tape around their premises, lawsuits and having to pay judgment and liens among others. If you want to avoid one of these nightmares becoming your reality, you need to think about conducting a tenant background check before allowing someone in your building.
Things to look out for
Most of the advice offered by the sites that offer screening services for prospective tenants will tell you to avoid people that have some type of record. The people that fall under this category include:
- People that have ever been convicted of a felony.
- People that have a record of financial issues such as bankruptcies and low credit scores.
- People that have been involved in legal issues with previous landlords, especially if they filed cases and won.
- People that have a history of drug possession or trafficking charges.
These are just a few of the no’s that are prescribed by the sites. The problem is that when you lock out these people indiscriminately, you may end up being accused of contravention of the free housing act. Instead of taking this approach, look for a company that is more sensible when classifying the tenants to be as qualified or not.
To start with, if the person already resolved their financial issues, has an improving credit score and most importantly, a stable job, there is no need to take adverse action against him citing financial issues. Also, if a person committed a stupid mistake when they were teenagers, for instance, drug possession charges, there is no need to allow the mistake to keep haunting them. Also, even if a person is an ex-convict, it is possible to find out how their parole went and how they have been living since incarceration to decide whether they deserve some space or not.
Something that helps get an objective tenant background is looking at what the current landlord and if possible roommates and neighbors of the person have to say about him. This paints a clear picture of whether they are changed or they are still the same person they were. Another thing that can help is talking to the employers of the person in question. If the employer has a positive review of the person and their ethics, there is no need to keep referring to credit issues that happened eight years ago. Just ensure that the rent is within the means of the renter. Lastly, interviewing the person does help you get a better opinion of them.
There are countless companies that purport to provide the best background checks to landlords that want to know more about their potential tenants. It is unfortunate that not all of these service providers deliver the quality of service that they claim to be able to offer. It is therefore important to ensure that as a landlord, you hire only best tenant screening service to help you learn more about potential tenants. Here are the factors that will determine the appropriateness of a certain service provider for the task.
The questions that they ask the tenant if they interview them
The first thing you need to take note of is the kind of information the screening service will be requiring from the tenants. Some of the questions that are very important include:
- The income that the renter is getting per month versus the amount of the rent.
- Their desired move in date.
- The reason why they are moving.
- The number of people that they plan to bring to live in the rental unit.
- Whether the tenants own any pets and if they do, how many.
- Whether the renter is a smoker, alcoholic or other type of addict.
It is important to note that when these questions are overlooked, you will either end up with issues related to the tenants turning on one another for issues causes by some, or even lawsuits.
The methods used by the best tenant screening service
Another thing you need to think about is the methods that are use by the providers of the screening service to get their information. To start with, ensure that they have resources to go deeper than simply looking at the records that are available publicly. Go for the company that is willing to even take field trips to the person’s place of residence and ask questions on them. Choose the provider who is willing to take time and verify the criminal records given to them. This means that instead of simply carrying out a localized search, they will insist on a nationwide search. This helps them nub even those offenders that may have committed felonies in other states and are trying to move to the state. The criminal check should also include factors such as sexual offenders and even misdemeanors. This information can potentially save you from liability suits that could result in cases where a renter hurt another renter on your premises.
There are many other things that you should consider when choosing best tenant screening service. As usual, always look at the reviews and recommendations that other people who have used that service have given about it. In addition to this, look at all the online reviews that have been written by people that have previously used these services. If the reviews are positive, you will feel easy hiring the company.