How to Get the Best Renter Background Check

In order to pick the best rental applicant, you need the best tenant screening tools.

Successful screening begins by using a reputable provider like Tenant Alert. That way, you know you are receiving the most accurate reports available.

But it is also necessary for the landlord to do some work up front. Getting the best results relies on having some solid background information on the candidate of your choice.

Here are some tips that maximize your chances of success:

  1. Always verify an applicant's qualifications at the first meeting or phone call. Ask questions about their income qualifications, including their monthly budget, to make sure this candidate can afford to pay rent on your property. Also, find out when the applicant plans to move so you can be sure your property will not remain vacant any longer than necessary. Make notes on what the candidate tells you and then compare that with the information they list on the rental application. By looking for discrepancies, you can spot a potentially bad tenant.

  2. Tell the applicant in advance that you will be running a tenant check. That gives them the chance to come clean on any problems that may be in the reports. Tenants who are sincere will be honest about their issues. This may be an applicant you can work with.

  3. Have the applicant complete a rental application. This is how you collect the information you need to get accurate tenant screening reports and obtain permission needed to run a renter background check. In addition, by signing the rental application, the tenant is verifying that the information they are providing is truthful.

  4. Get as much personal information as you can in order to identify the applicant, including their legal name, any previous names they may have used when obtaining credit, their date of birth and Social Security number. It is also critical to collect banking information, previous addresses, and personal references. Some landlords make the mistake of streamlining their rental applications for the sake of formatting, for instance, eliminating questions or shortening answer space so the form fits neatly on one or two pages. Allow the applicant as much space as reasonably necessary to answer all pertinent questions so you get the most information possible.

The information you obtain from the applicant will guide you in deciding which tenant screening reports you need to order. For instance, if the applicant is from out-of-state, you will want to run national eviction and criminal reports. By comparing the reports to the application, you may be able to catch an applicant who hasn't provided the full story.

Putting some time in to getting to know your applicant will pay off once you have the right tenant in your property --- and not the tenant from hell.