Charismatic people infect others with their energy, optimism, and wit. Yet for all you know, the charisma could be a veneer hiding who they really are inside. Take, for example, the prolific serial killer Ted Bundy, who had a massive following of female fans.
Finding tenants can sometimes feel like gambling. Are they the golden tenant you think they are, or a good liar? There's only one way to find out: tenant screening.
Tenant background checks help you sift the wheat from the chaff. Before you send off their information to a screening company, though, we have a few tips. Read on for five things landlords should know about screening for a rental property.
1. You Can Charge for Tenant Screening
Over the course of dozens or hundreds of applicants, it can get costly to screen them all. While focusing on a few promising tenants is a good idea, that cost rises either way. Don't eat the fee; charge to conduct each background check.
This usually comes as an add-on or as part of the application fee. Let tenants know what the fee is for and you should be good to go. Being honest about conducting background checks builds trust, which retains good tenants.
2. Know the Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Act protects against discrimination for those seeking housing. In essence, it prevents you or anyone else from denying someone based on race, religion, sexual orientation, and so on. This includes increasing scrutiny of minority tenants, such as only conducting background checks for them alone.
Read through the Fair Housing Act and be careful not to give unfair treatment during tenant placement. You could get into deep legal trouble for breaking this law.
3. Decide What Disqualifies Tenants
Every landlord wants perfect tenants who have excellent credit scores and no criminal history. This is a fantasy. The people who apply will come from all walks of life, often with imperfect records.
So, decide what really matters. It's probably not an issue if someone ran a red light when they were sixteen. It is an issue if they are a convicted sex predator. People with a history of evictions may break the lease and affect your rental income.
4. Verify History
Background checks can usually weed out fake backgrounds, such as fake reports of past employment. Screening companies aren't always perfect, though. Consider asking for references and making some calls to verify a person's background.
5. Listen to Your Gut
Even with a non-suspicious background check, you might get a bad feeling. It's important to listen to your gut.
This is your subconscious taking note of inconsistencies and warning you. It never hurts to heed that gut feeling. There will always be another prospective tenant!
Manage with PMI
Tenant screening is a must-have when considering new applicants. Use the above tips to guide you through the process before you commit any faux pas. Things like failing to verify their history or discriminating against them could cause issues down the line.
PMI has years of experience and helps thousands of landlords like you manage their properties. Don't wait. Get started today with a free rental analysis.