Background checks are an important part of your tenant screening process. They must include several critical elements, including a credit check and a criminal history review. We recommend that you dig a little deeper and conduct a thorough background check that will give you a good idea of who is renting your property. Placing the right tenant will have a huge impact on your success as a landlord and your rental income.
Background Checks and Credit History
Everyone’s dream tenant has perfect credit. But, perfect credit is hard to find. So, you need to establish some credit standards that make sense for you and your property. There may be a specific credit score that you want to see, and that’s fine. But, when you’re reviewing the credit report, don’t treat every credit blemish equally. An abundance of overdue medical bills is unfortunate, but not unique. What should concern you more is a list of overdue or unpaid utility bills. Look for any outstanding debts that are owed to a former landlord or property management company. These are the red flags to be concerned about in a credit background.
Criminal History Background Checks
You don’t want to rent your property to someone with a history of violent felonies or drug trafficking. Make sure you do a nationwide criminal check. Getting a clean report from your local police precinct isn’t enough. We also recommend you check the terrorist watch list and the sex offender database.
Rental History and Past Evictions
Find out if your prospective tenants have ever gone to court of if there’s an eviction on their record. An eviction from 15 years ago is acceptable if they can show they have been responsible renters since then. However, a recent eviction or a pattern of evictions should concern you. Talk to former landlords as part of your background check. You’ll get some valuable information about what kind of tenant this person was in the past. You can ask if they paid rent on time, had any pets, left any damage behind, and followed the terms of the lease agreement.
Finally, make sure you verify everything. Most tenants are honest people, but if someone has something to hide, they will work very hard to conceal what they don’t want you to find. Match the past addresses on the application with the previous addresses on the credit report. Verify employment and income information. You want everything to match up before you approve the application.
If you have any questions or you need help running a comprehensive background check on potential tenants, please contact us at The Wright Choice Richmond Realty Group. We would be happy to help you.