Protect your investment property by conducting a thorough background and complete credit check of prospective tenants. Tenants with a criminal record, a history of not paying their rent, and those that have been evicted in the past are more likely to cause problems. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires landlords to follow proper procedure when conducting a credit and background check. Background screening companies can supply you with information that will help you determine if applicants pay their rent on time, have damaged previous rental properties, have criminal records, and how they were rated by previous landlords.
1. Require prospective tenants to fill out a rental application form. In this application, be sure to request any and all necessary information to perform a thorough background check including contact information for current and past landlords and employers, their social security number, drivers license number and bank account information.
2. Be sure you have any applicants fill out a credit report authorization form along with the rental application as the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that landlords ask permission prior to running a credit check. A landlord can deny an application to rent if the applicant denies permission to run the credit check. Landlords, not the credit reporting agencies, are responsible for recording the credit check authorizations.
3. Hire a background check company to carry out a thorough background check on your applicants. A background check can include a state and national criminal report, a sex offender database search and prior address history verification. Use a qualified, professional background check company to ensure accuracy of the reported information.
4. Confirm all reported information you receive from the applicant. Be sure to contact your applicant’s current and previous landlords and ask for references. Also be sure to contact the applicant’s current employer to confirm income as well as other references to make sure that all information supplied by the applicant is correct and current.