As we’ve mentioned before, a tenant screening process is essential for any property owner not wanting to get scammed. If you’re unwilling do conduct background checks, you’re walking on thin ice. Unfortunately, not all renters will have the best interest of your real estate business at heart; therefore, you have to proceed with caution. The best way to do this is by issuing background checks on all potential tenants in your properties and knowing how to look for red flags in the process.
In this article:
The Importance of Background Checks
You can ask your potential tenants all sorts of questions about their past, whether they are legal citizens, and their income level. But sadly, even those who appear truth worthy can be lying to you. Performing background checks on each person is the best way to get all information verified.
Looking for Red Flags
The biggest tell of something wrong is when what the tenant tells you doesn’t jive with what is shown in the background check. This doesn’t necessarily mean something like a letter left off an old address. Look out for things like open investigations against the tenant or criminal charges that they didn’t tell you about. Also be extremely vigilant about checking for any violent offense like drug activity, domestic violence, sex offenses, or repeated offenses.
Property and Tenant Safety
Having violent offenders around your property is awful for obvious reason that threaten the overall safety of your community and those who are a part of it. Another problem to consider is tenants who could be in the business of illegal drugs. Physical violence and gun violence are very common among those involved in such dangerous trades, so you don’t want to risk anything. Doing a background check will help eliminate any potential tenants with these types of problems.
Understand Your Rights
It’s also important for landlords to be well-versed in what their specific responsibilities and rights are around performing background checks. Certain states will expect the landlord to pay for the credit or background check for the tenant. Other states allow for imposing the fee on the tenant. In addition, you might also be responsible for making sure tenants with specific restrictions, such as living around children, are following the law. If you don’t do a background check and find out later there’s something bad on their criminal record, the blame could fall on you.
Background checks can sometimes be costly and annoying with the time they take, but they are more than worth it. You don’t want to compromise your other tenants, your properties, or your name by allowing someone damaging on your property. For more information about screening tenants, talk to your property management company.