When you’ve invested and worked to become a successful landlord, you want to ensure you can protect your investment. Running background checks on your potential tenants is one effective way to save you the hassle of unpredictable or unreliable renters. Beyond simply being difficult or unprofitable to sign a lease with, some tenants could pose a potential danger to other renters in your community if they have a less-than-savory criminal history or a record of theft. Therefore, a tenant background check is essential to ensure their rental history, eviction history, and criminal background checks are all available for you to consider.
How To Do A Background Check On A Tenant
Hiring a screening company to conduct a background check for tenants on your behalf is one of the best ways for property management to handle issues like income verification or criminal records. However, a renter background check is conducted using publicly available records, so while you could look up all the information yourself, this can be time-consuming and raise the possibility of inaccuracies. Inaccurate information during a background check could open you up to liability issues or increase the time your rental property sits empty, not earning you anything after all the hard work you put into it.
Want to make sure you don’t disqualify good tenants while weeding out troublemakers? Sticking to a professional service is the smartest way to handle the issue of tenant screening. Smaller-scale rental operations can use various websites to conduct tenant screening, which lets you avoid paying significant amounts to a screening organization or spending vast chunks of time looking through records yourself. After all, you didn’t invest in your rental property to wade through paperwork.
What To Look For When Running Tenant Background Checks
When you request a tenant screening report, you should receive meaningful information like the tenants’ criminal history, eviction history, and an SSN trace. You should be able to get access to your prospective tenants’ credit scores and rental history on the whole. This information is worth considering when you offer to rent your investment properties to a potential renter. These comprehensive reports provide as much information as you might need to see who is qualified to rent a property from you.
Checking Criminal History
Perhaps the most critical part of checking a background check for tenants is scanning their criminal history for violent or property-related crimes. It’s worth remembering that not every criminal record should be treated equally. Drug offenses or related victimless crimes might not preclude a tenant from being a reliable renter, and any crime with a low recidivism rate should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Landlords can’t ask for arrest reports that did not lead to conviction due to changes in federal law. Because denying a tenant based on criminal history can be less accepted by some jurisdictions, you should avoid running a criminal history screening until all other parts of the tenant background check process have been completed. You may be able to deny a potentially troublesome tenant before scanning their criminal history and leaving yourself open to more liabilities.
Credit scores are a measurement of the overall creditworthiness of your tenants and are one factor you can include in deciding if a potential tenant will be profitable. They’ll tell you in one glance about the financial status of a prospective renter. A credit report can tell you about valuable considerations like a history of late payments, their debt-to-income ratio, and their overall financial stability. But, credit scores shouldn’t necessarily preclude low-income tenants from housing. Instead, they can be taken as just another factor when considering the overall character of a potential tenant.
Why Checking A Tenant's Background Is So Important
Learning how to run a background check on a tenant is critical to protecting your property investments. It helps you avoid renting to problematic or unsafe tenants. You’ll keep your property and the community that thrives around it safe from individuals that might cause harm to the structure or turn the outward-facing parts of their rental area into an eyesore. Tenants with a history of evictions will likely cause more trouble than renters with a better history of making timely payments. Evictions sometimes result from lack of payment, and other factors like noise complaints could be a risk from allowing tenants with an unstable history to rent from your property management. A reliable tenant is likely to take care of your property, pay rent on time, and leave your rental community better off than the way they found it, and these are the kinds of tenants you can ensure you get with a vital tenant screening process.
Beyond all these concerns, you should also look for signs of tenant fraud. Running a tenant background check can help you stop fraud before it starts. Fraudsters are constantly attempting new tricks to receive their ill-gotten gains, and partnering with a quality background-check organization can help you avoid becoming a victim of fraud.
How KarmaCheck Can Help
KarmaCheck offers a comprehensive tenant screening program with affordable options for landlords and property management companies. In addition, KarmaCheck can help you rapidly access everything you’d need to know about prospective tenants, including criminal records and credit reports.
The tenant background check platform is robust and efficient while remaining very transparent. It displays lots of information about the details of its background checks in a format that is easy to read and understand. KarmaCheck can streamline your tenant screening process, saving you lots of time and effort and letting you dodge the headache of troublemaking rental applicants. As a result, you can find the best prospective tenants to maximize returns on your property investment.