All About the Tenant Background Check and Application Process

All About the Tenant Background Check and Application Process

The rent check didn't come and the mortgage is due. You drive by your income property only to notice there's a broken window, personal items all over the yard, and the house looks empty.

Yikes! What happened? 

Rental properties are a great way to generate an income stream, but it's not always easy dealing with tenants. You want the best tenants you can get, so you need a tenant background check and screening. 

This article will show you how to get a good tenant using a tenant application and screening process. 

Tenant Background Check: What Is It?

A tenant background check is a screening tool to help you see a potential renter's past behavior. A background check is one of your most important tools before handing over the key to your property. There are three major credit bureaus that collect the information you see in a background check:

  • Experian
  • Equifax
  • TransUnion

Between the credit score and the details of the report you get from these companies, you'll get a feeling of whether the applicant is a responsible tenant. A low credit score sometimes reveals a person isn't responsible in financial dealings.

The credit bureaus get their information from an individual's creditors. This includes credit card issuers, finance companies, and banks. They also gather information from public records such as court or property records.

The three reports vary depending on what type of information the credit bureau collects.

What Other Information Is in a Tenant Background Check?

A thorough background check also looks at more than a credit score and payment history. You'll also see a criminal history report and an eviction report. 

The tenant criminal background check contains any past criminal behavior and includes a description of the conviction. It tells you whether the crime was a felony or misdemeanor. 

Please note that this check also includes arrests. You can't deny an applicant for an arrest without a conviction. Make sure you understand the Fair Housing Act rules. 

If you decide to rent to a convicted criminal, keep your other tenants in mind. Will they sue you if you put them at risk and something happens? 

You'll also see an eviction report. Was the person evicted from a prior rental situation? If so, you'll see a description of what happened. 

Isn't This Private Information?

The information contained in a tenant background check is personal and private. You'll need written permission from the tenant before running a tenant screening.

Always have the proper forms filled out before running any type of background check or you could find yourself in a lot of trouble. There are many companies online that run background checks, but if you're worried about the screening process, use an experienced property management company.

Always Perform a Tenant Background Check

A tenant background check can save you thousands of dollars in repairs, lost rent, or lawsuits. Leaving out the background check puts your property and financial health at risk. 

Are you stressed about tenant background checks in Chattanooga? Here at HomeRiver Group Chattanooga, we make the tenant application process smooth. Give us a call or drop us a line today!

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