Conducting a Background Check on Tenants!

in AppleOutsider edited January 2014
If you are like thousands who own rental properties, it is important in having the right kinds of tenants. The mere fact that an individual has a first rate impression with you, is not the means of judging ones character. A well mannered, well dressed individual who presents him or herself impressively, can still be a problem tenant. On the flipside to this, an individual who may not seem to have your qualifications in appearances and manners, maybe the most perfect candidate as a tenant. Conducting a background check for applicants is always in the best interest of the landlord.

It is important to have the tenant sign a consent form to conduct a background check. A Prospective Tenant who declines the consent form to authorize the landlord to conduct background check, usually have something to hide. Some prospective clients think that criminal backgrounds are all that will show up on their reports. So with confidence, they do sign the background check consent form. Little do they know that tenant records are actually included on these type Reports.

It is advisable not to take deposit money from a candidate before conducting a background check on the individual(s). Conducting your own reference checking can save you money; but keep in mind that most prospective tenants will only provide good reference. For most landlords, they charge prospective clients 50-$80 non-refundable application fee, which normally covers the full Background check report.

Taking the right steps now will insure that later down the road, you will be certain you made the right choice in choosing a tenant. By conducting a professional background check, landlords do not only protect their rights as property owners, they protect the rights of the potential tenants.

Background Checks provides detailed information on Criminal Background Check, Employment Back Ground Check, it includes, bankruptcies, sexual offenses, character references, police reports and many more.

<REMOVED SPAMLINK (but left the body, as it could be an interesting discussion) ... audiopollution>


  • Reply 1 of 5
    mydomydo Posts: 1,888member
    You know my wife and son have been living in my house rent free for years. Maybe I should consider your service?
  • Reply 2 of 5
    shawnjshawnj Posts: 6,656member
    Yeah, he's a spammer.

    But this topic is pretty interesting actually.

    Nick what's your take? You have lots of experience here.
  • Reply 3 of 5
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,464member
    I run three reports. I run a credit check, an eviction check for the state of California and lastly a verification of the Social Security number.

    I do ask if they have been convicted of a crime on the application and since most criminal court docs are available online now, I do punch their names in just to see what pops up. However this information is public.

    I have encountered plenty of people who have terrible credit and I still rent to them. The factor for me is a catastrophic event versus a pattern or habit. Catastrophic events are things like medical bills from accidents, divorces, etc. I'll trust a person who's had the dice roll wrong against him versus someone making a clear conscious decision against lenders for extended periods of time. The credit reports are easy to read and tell the difference between the two.

    One of the very ironic things for me is how people on here accuse me of being divorced or some such nonsense when I advocate for reform of family courts and especially child support laws. It isn't because it has happened to me, but because I've had it happen to a couple friends and family members and also because I have seen around a hundred credit reports that are ruined by these issues.

    Understand that when someone comes to rent from me, they disclose their current income and usually their income and employers for the previous few years. Child support arrears appear on credit reports so I get to compare the two directly. As I've noted in the past what it does, especially via fines and penalties is put marginally earning men (and women) on the wrong side of the law. I see a person who is earning $25k a year owing $75k on a four year old child. I see this often.

    A lot of things are judgment calls. I've rented to people convicted on drug charges but not on anything violent. There were two examples of this and one was evicted when he started using again. The other guy has been a model renter for three years. A lot of it really is looking into a person's eyes because there are lots of decent folks who fail on standard criteria who still need a place to live.

    Some more examples:

    The lowest credit score I ever read was a divorced mother who's husband had committed fraud. She had tax returns showing plenty of income but her credit score was in the low 400's. She struck me as a very good and honest person and rented from me for 2.5 years and was never late. She was self-employed and worked from home where there were several phone lines installed. I suspect her job was phone sex. If you ever got to speak to her, you would see why.

    A nice mid-20s computer tech wanted to rent from me. He had everything perfect on paper. He had a great credit score and loads of income. He told me he had guardianship of his brother and that the brother would be living with him. I told him that this was fine but I would like to see the brother since he was a minor and I wouldn't have any other way of knowing anything about him. I met him, turned to the computer tech and told him I didn't care about his orientation, his partner would need an application and credit check. The partner gladly filled it out (especially since he was not a minor but a 22 year old man) and they both were great renters who stayed around 2 years.

    I had a newly married evangelical couple who were merging to families together from previous divorces. They had sold a home to pay off bills and prepaid their rent to me for a year. (They were honestly worried about their ability to hold onto the money) The year came and went, and they made it two months past that before they were broke and in divorce court. (There is another humorous story from this couple but that is for another post)

    I always tell people that property management is a misnomer. The properties don't do anything. It really should be called people management. If you pick the right people, you get nice steady rents and no problems often for a minimum of two to three years.

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