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Tenant Screening Important Steps

How to Screen a Tenant

Before you sign a lease and hand over the keys to your rental property, watch this video for essential steps every landlord should follow when screening a tenant.

A tenant background check with credit reports, criminal records and an eviction search is only has reliable as the information you obtain from the applicant. It’s far too easy to manipulate credit, criminal and eviction report results with misinformation. Don’t be fooled by an experienced criminal or con artist.

Here’s a summary of important steps when screening tenants:

1) Every adult who intends on residing at the property should have to complete a rental application (even if they are not financially responsible for the lease).

2) Every adult occupant should also produce a government issued photo ID.

3) Credit reports should be ordered on anyone signing the lease. Never allow a tenant to provide a copy of their own credit report. Any report obtained online can be imported to almost any text editor, changed, and then printed. Why show you a 560 and numerous late payments when an on time 720 looks so much better?

4) Criminal records and eviction records should be searched on all adult occupants since anyone with such a history may pose a problem to fellow tenants, neighbors, the landlord, and the property. It’s a common practice for predators/criminals to have their partner (often with a clean record and very presentable) meet with the landlord and apply for the lease. After approval, the significant other with the bad past then moves in.

Don’t worry about scaring off your tenants by asking to collect some basic information. It’s common in the rental property industry and most will gladly accommodate you. A tenant that doesn’t want to be screened just may have something to hide. Do your due diligence and find the best possible renter by getting to know more about your applicant.