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Know No Strangers: How to Conduct a Proper Tenant Background Check

Know No Strangers: How to Conduct a Proper Tenant Background Check

Have you ever had a tenant that was a pain to deal with? Have they made too much noise or never paid rent on time, or were they just generally disruptive? As a landlord, you want to have the most reliable people living in your unit.

But how can you ensure that you get the best tenant after going through hundreds of possible applicants? With a proper tenant background check, of course. Not sure how to conduct one, you're in luck.

Check out this guide for how to conduct a background check on any applicant.

Obtain Signed Consent

Before you're able to run any background check, you must have the written consent from the potential applicant. In many places, it's illegal to run a background check without the subject's approval.

On the rental application, make it clear that you will run a background check and get their signature consenting to it. You could also have a separate form that asks for permission to sign along with the tenant application.

Gather Tenant Information

The only information you'll need for a background check is the potential renter's name and social security number. With this information, you can run a full background and credit check on any potential tenants.

It's a good idea to background check all adults living in the house full time, not only the ones applying for the unit. This can help prevent you from moving in unruly or unreliable tenants.

Use a Background Check Service

There are many businesses and services that offer a rental background check. You'll want to use an approved background check service to ensure you're receiving back the most accurate information.

Do your due diligence and compare your options based on price and quality of product. You'll also want to ensure that the background check service you use is approved by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Know the Housing Laws

Though tenant screening can help protect you, you also have to be careful of the housing laws and ordinances—federal, state, and local. Most of these laws have to do with discrimination a rental applicant may face.

Be sure that your rental applicant criteria are compliant with the Fair Housing Act. You cannot discriminate against a potential applicant due to their race, gender, sexual orientation, or age.

You also cannot run a background check only because of one of these criteria, and you cannot use the background check as a cover for rejecting someone of a different race, gender, sexual orientation, or age.

You Can Get the Best Renters with a Tenant Background Check

As a landlord, you have a lot on your plate. From maintaining your properties to keeping up with the laws, you don't have time to chase down late payments and deal with angry neighbors.

Any landlord would want to stop any tenant issues before they start. And that's why it's crucial to conduct a tenant background check before having a new renter move in.

Are you looking to work with a property management company for some of your units? Contact our offices to speak with an agent today!