What Shows up on a Background Check for an Apartment?

When running a background check on a potential tenant, the report will give detailed personal information about the applicant. A background check pulls information from public records to confirm the applicant's identity and provide a clearer picture of their residential, employment, and financial history. Tenant Background Search offers a fast and easy online service to address any landlord's needs in assessing a potential tenant.

A person's residential history can provide you with a better understanding of where the person has lived in the past and how long they typically reside in one location before moving to the next. This is helpful for landlords looking to find tenants who are interested in specific short- or long-term rental options and ensure the property is the right fit for the applicant's needs. It is also helpful to have an understanding of a person's rental history, whether they have experience renting in the past, for how long, and whether or not they made payments on time. Additionally, it is incredibly important to know if the applicant has a history of property damage or destruction, disturbing other tenants, or even a history of eviction.

A background check can also help verify the accuracy of the applicant's employment information listed on their application. It is important as a landlord to have an accurate understanding of the potential tenant's expected income for the duration of the lease, and an employment history can shed light on how long the applicant has been employed and their current salary. An application and background check may also provide additional employment-related information to help the landlord determine the tenant's rent to income ratio, helping ensure the potential tenant will be able to afford the rent and other living expenses. If you have a minimum income requirement, the background check report is the most accurate representation of the applicant's income and you can check this information here.

Other information regarding a potential tenant's financial history may prove to be important in the background search. Tenant Background Search offers various levels of packages, with the standard package offering a background check, the standard plus package offering a background and credit check, and the comprehensive package also including a history of eviction report. When reviewing a potential tenant's credit report information, you will see their credit score, which is made up of a variety of important factors such as their payment history, their credit card utilization, and their credit availability.

Finally, a Tenant Background Search report will also include information on the applicant regarding any criminal records, such as any misdemeanors or felonies, and whether or not the future tenant is on the sex offender registry. It is important to understand the state and local laws regarding what information in a criminal record you may use to base your decision on an applicant. In general, the idea of reviewing an applicant's criminal record is to help you determine whether or not the applicant would be a good renter for your property. Use Tenant Background Search services for all your background checks and credit checks in order to help you identify the best tenants for your property.

How to Screen Tenants

The screening process for potential tenants can seem overwhelming, but there are practical steps one can take to help identify quality future tenants and also potential tenants to avoid. Tenant Background Search understands the importance of finding responsible, reliable tenants for your property and offers three levels of comprehensive reporting to ensure you have all the information you need to make the best decision for you and your property. The following are 5 steps for how to best screen tenants:

Step 1: Meet the Applicant

While in-person meetings may not always be feasible, it can be so helpful when possible to learn more about the applicant and begin the application process together. When you are able to meet a potential tenant in person, the unofficial screening can begin. Find out what has them on the market for a new rental opportunity and what they did or did not like about their previous rental experiences. This can help you get a better understanding of what the potential tenant is looking for in a property, while also getting to know them a bit better. You may ask what brings the tenant to the area and whether they have long-term plans to stay in the area. While this information is unofficial, it often helps put your mind at ease through the rest of the steps.

Step 2: Review the Application

A standard rental application will request the applicant's full name, date of birth, social security number, driver's license, or another form of identification, and residential address history for at least two years prior. You will likely want to include other information in the application as well, such as proof of employment and proof of income. Included in the application or in addition to the application, you will want to collect the applicant's permission to run a background and credit check so you can thoroughly screen the potential tenant.

Step 3: Run Tenant Background Search

A background check and credit check on potential tenants are incredibly important to screening tenants for everything from any criminal history to their ability to pay the rent. Tenant Background Search offers online services for background, credit check, and additional reporting and provides comprehensive reports for review. Tenant Background Search is proud to offer quality services with a range of price options. The basic package offers a background check, while the plus package offers both a background check and credit check. The comprehensive check also includes an eviction report. The service is easy to use, the results are fast, and there are customer service representatives available 24/7 to address any and all questions or concerns.

Step 4: Review the Report

When reviewing a potential tenant's background and credit check, it is important to verify the identity of the applicant and understand the objectives and outcomes for both reports. The background check provides you as the landlord with information on the applicant's criminal history and personal history, while the credit check offers a financial summary and how the potential tenant handles debt. Reviewing a financial summary of the applicant can help demonstrate whether or not they have a history of on-time payments, their credit card utilization and credit score, and verification of their income. Public records of any evictions and bankruptcies are also helpful. Tenant Background Search provides simple yet thorough reports so you can easily get a greater understanding of the viability of the potential tenant.

How to Run a Credit Check

As a landlord, you understand the importance of finding responsible tenants who will pay their rent on time. Running a credit check on potential tenants is a great way to review their credit history and get a better understanding of how they manage their money. Learning how a potential tenant pays their debts is a strong indicator of how they will treat their lease payments. Here are 4 steps to running a successful credit check:

Step 1: Review Rental Application

It is common practice for potential tenants to submit some type of rental application to demonstrate interest in the property. A standard rental application generally requires the future tenant to supply their full legal name, date of birth, and social security number. It is equally important to require the tenant to provide their previous residential addresses for at least two years and contact information for a current landlord or leasing company.

Step 2: Interview Applicant for Additional Information

While not all potential tenants are able to meet in person prior to completing a rental application, many landlords find it helpful to learn additional information with someone who will be living on your property. You may find it helpful to know more about why they are interested in moving to your location, what they liked and disliked about their previous rental experiences, and what they are most looking forward to with your property. Whether this information is communicated in person or in a more extensive application, it can help you determine whether this person is the right fit to move forward with the credit check process.

Step 3: Collect Payment and Authorization for Credit Check

In order to run a credit check, you must notify the potential tenant and have them complete a form to authorize you to run the credit check. Many landlords include this paperwork in the rental application. When it comes to covering the credit check fee, landlords may choose to include the standard credit check fee in with the rental application payment, an administrative fee, or request payment directly from the tenant.

Step 4: Use Tenant Background Check Services

Upon receiving authorization, a landlord can submit a future tenant for a credit check with Tenant Background Search. Tenant Background Check offers three screening packages: the basic package includes a background check, the plus package also includes a credit report, and the comprehensive package also includes an eviction report. Regardless of the package you select, all services will be completed online and you will receive a detailed report almost instantly.

Tenant Background Search partners with multiple data warehouses to provide you with an accurate report and utilizes a secure and encrypted process to guarantee privacy for all parties. Our highly experienced staff are able to provide quality customer service and support throughout the entire process. Whether you are an individual property owner or are managing a commercial property, Tenant Background Check Services provides you with the information you need in a safe and timely manner so you can be confident in the tenants approved for your rental properties.

How to do a Background Check

When it comes to running a background check on a potential tenant, the process is made very simple and safe with Tenant Background Search. The basic Tenant Background Search package includes a background check, while the plus and comprehensive packages also include additional information such as a credit check and eviction history. Whether or not you choose to receive those additional services, know that you can trust Tenant Background Search for a thorough background check regardless of what package you choose. Here are five steps for conducting a background check:

Step 1: Collect Rental Application

A standard rental application requests that the tenant submit the basic information that is used when later submitting a background check request. This includes the potential tenant's full name, date of birth, social security number, and previous addresses for at least two years. Landlords and leasing agencies may customize rental applications to include additional information such as a driver's license number or another type of certified identification to further verify the identity of the applicant. Other information to request will likely include income history, employment verification, and references.

Step 2: Request Permission to Run Background Check

Landlords are required to request permission before running a credit check on an applicant, which also typically includes a background check. While landlords often have experience and understanding of the background check process, it can be helpful to explain to the tenant what type of information will be collected. A background check is typically used to verify the applicant's identity and investigate public records of criminal history and character.

Step 3: Use Tenant Background Search

Tenant Background Search offers affordable background searches that are easy to complete and offer fast results. These services offer a comprehensive background check report so you can have peace of mind in selecting responsible tenants. The package types and online system make background screenings fast, easy, and take the stress out of the process for you as the landlord. Tenant Background Search package options are all affordable. We recommend landlords include the background check fee in the application or administrative fees paid for by the tenant as part of the application process.

Step 4: Contact References

A background check does a thorough review of a person's personal and criminal history, with data sets and information of record to help provide you with a comprehensive picture of the potential tenant. However, you may also want to contact references to verify any information. Options for references can be listed on the rental application and may include the current employer, current or past landlords, and personal references supplied. The current employer can verify the applicant's employment, while personal references may address the character and reliability of the potential tenant. Perhaps most importantly, current or former landlords can speak to whether rent was paid on time, whether any property damage occurred or complaints were received about the tenant, and more.

Trust Tenant Background Search for safe, swift, and secure background searches so you can always select the most reliable tenants for your property.

How to Check Someone's Credit

Before you approve a potential tenant's rental application, it's important that you do a complete credit check on the applicant. Tenant Background Search offers an easy online option for running a background and credit check so you can verify their identity and confirm they are a suitable renter for your property. Here are 5 steps to checking someone's credit:

Step 1: Meet with Potential Tenant

While many people are looking for the best place to rent, you as the landlord are also looking for the best candidate to be a tenant on your property. Meeting in person is a great way to get the conversation started about what the potential tenant is looking for in a rental property and why they may have chosen to leave another rental opportunity. Additionally, an informal introductory conversation can tell you a lot about a future tenant, from where they work, to their lifestyle interests, to how many friends or family they plan to live with. All these factors affect whether or not a tenant is the right fit for your property.

Step 2: Review the Application

Whether or not you are able to meet in person, it is helpful to have a conversation with a potential tenant before the application process begins. That personal connection can help when they have questions or help you feel more comfortable in asking all the right questions. The application should include the potential tenant's basic information, such as their full name, date of birth, employment history, and living history for at least two years. You may also want to request proof of employment and proof of income, as well as contact information for their most recent rental experience.

Step 3: Request a Credit Check

Part of the application process should include an explanation of the credit check and what type of information you as the landlord are looking for. You will need to seek permission from the applicant before running a background or credit check. Once you receive their permission, use a service like Tenant Background Search to meet all your needs.

Step 4: Credit Check with Tenant Services

Tenant Background Search is a comprehensive screening tool for landlords to easily check someone's credit and receive a report fast. The service is reliable and user-friendly, with no hidden fees or extra hoops to jump through. The process is simple and straightforward, and there are customer service representatives available 24/7 to address any questions or concerns you may have during the process.

Step 5: Review the Report

An accurate and affordable report from Tenant Background Search Standard Plus Tenant Screening package includes a credit report with Fico score, information on the tenant's history of bankruptcies, foreclosures, collections, and other financial information. This information is obviously sensitive, and you can rely on Tenant Background Search to provide a safe and secure service. The comprehensive report offers a thorough assessment of the applicant and helps you assess the feasibility of the applicant as a potential tenant for your property.

Red Flags During Tenant Background Checks

Property Managers and landlords typically understand the importance of having a background check process for potential tenants. Proper background screenings can help to ensure your property is safe, well maintained, and desirable; it can also save money in the long run by ensuring you don't lease to someone without solid financials. Many of these problems can be easily spotted during a routine screening. For example, a tenant with very poor credit or a criminal history may give you immediate pause. Eviction history is also a common warning sign that a tenant is not a good fit for a property. But even before sending off for credit and criminal history, the process of screening can begin. You can take careful notice of behaviors and reactions to gauge if somebody is the optimal tenant starting from your first interaction. Look out for behaviors like the following.

First Contact

When responding to your vacancy ad, a potential tenant should follow any instructions given and know the basic information you provided. If you post a 2 bedroom and ask for email inquiries, and someone calls you to ask about a 3 bedroom, there is already a disconnect there. The worst-case scenario is often somebody showing up and disturbing current tenants in an order to gather information. An applicant who starts off badly may not be worth further conversations.

Application Etiquette

Any qualified tenant understands that an application is part of the process and should be prepared to fill one out. If they do have concerns about what may show up on their background check, they should share those with you beforehand rather than attempt to hide the information. If an applicant pushes back on the required paperwork, there is already a chance something is askew. Once they do fill out an application, it should be treated seriously and professionally. Lots of blank spaces or errors may be simple negligence, but can also be at attempt to mislead you with false information.

References

Many people are looking to move out after living with family members, and no one should be written off for listing family members as references. However, if these are the only references they can provide or their additional references do not seem legitimate, this could be cause for concern. Family members are sometimes listed to avoid landlord contact, so you should reach out to them and treat the family member like a landlord. Ask all the questions you typically would to gauge if this person truly lived with the family member or not.

Rental History

While eviction history is an obvious worry, you may see other aspects of a tenant's history that can be concerning. If somebody moves often within the same city, you may want to dig into this further. This can indicate someone who is moving out to avoid evictions or is perhaps a difficult tenant. More than 3 addresses in the previous 5 years is usually enough to raise eyebrows during the application process and should lead to further questioning.

There are numerous things that can arise during the tenant background check process, but make sure to always comply with fair housing laws and provide legitimate reasons for rejecting applicants. These guidelines provide a starting point in determining when a tenant is not fit for your vacancy.

Additions to Your Lease Agreement That Might Have Positive Effects On Your Tenant Screening Process

The job of a landlord can be complicated and arduous at times, particularly when there are holes in their screening process for finding quality tenants. Many landlords are motivated by the promise of profit and good investment, but inexperienced in the discipline of screening tenants effectively and having confirmed tenants agree to reasonable terms in their lease agreement. It is our aim at Tenant Background Search to provide the tools to prevent mishaps before they have a chance to damage your community or property for good. If prevention isn't possible, it is at least wise of us to learn from the experiences of others and not pay the "stupid tax."

Establish Timelines for Landlord Entry - Inspections of rental properties are an excellent idea because they can provide a layer of transparency that helps prevent damage to your property and other issues from occurring. These inspections should be outlined in the lease agreement from the onset of your relationship with your tenant. This clarity provision can create an environment in which you as a landlord see the lowest property damages possible because of your involvement. That being said, it is important that other instances that would require landlord entry be outlined as well. In general, tenants should be given 24 hours notice before they can expect to see their landlord or contract workers in their unit or property. The only exception provided for is in the event of an emergency scenario or in the case of a tenant asking to see the landlord on his or her own timeline.

Consider a Reporting Policy for Rent Payments - Newer technology allows landlords to report on-time rent payments to credit bureaus. This is a very helpful tool for both the landlord and the tenant... provided that payments are actually made on time and in full. The landlord can utilize this reporting policy to enforce on-time payments and decrease the burden on their shoulders of hunting down checks from tenants. Knowing that the payments will be reported each month without exception is a strong motivator for tenants to be on time. Tenants will also enjoy the credit benefits of being reported on so often as a positive tenant. Renters don't often enjoy the same benefits as homeowners, but in this case, they can enjoy similar perks.

Guest Policy and Subletting Rules - It is key to establish a guest policy and subletting rules from the beginning of a lease agreement. Guests that are either unwanted or unscreened can really pose a problem to landlords, as well as other tenants. If a guest is going to reside on your property for an extended period of time, they should go through a similar screening process to your tenants who are actually on the lease agreement for the place. Additionally, the potential for sublet conflicts should be headed off and addressed with a policy in the lease agreement. Vacation rentals, such as Airbnb and VRBO should be addressed in this section as well.

3 Ways to Keep Pests Out of Your Rentals & Keep Your Tenants Happy

No one wants pests inside their home, tenants and owners included. Signs of pests such as bedbugs, fleas, rodents, or termites are a sure way to deter tenants from wanting to rent your property. One bad experience from a tenant can lead to bad reviews, making your property less appealing and harder to rent out. Follow these 3 tips to keep pests out of your properties and get the most value out of your rentals.

Identify the Problem Area The most important step is to first identify the type of pest in your home and then what is causing the infestation. Look for small cracks or openings where they could be getting in. Seal up holes or cracks to keep pests from making a home there. If it is fleas, treat any animals in the home to attack the infestation at its source. Pests are also attracted to trash and garbage. Clean up any garbage piles or improperly stored food that could be appealing to flies, rats, mice, or other types of pests.

Call In a Professional If a pest infestation is too much for you to handle yourself, call in a professional pest control company to get control of the problem. Setting traps or putting out baits or poisons can be dangerous to people and animals. Sometimes this type of work is best left up to the experienced professionals. Pest control professionals will know the best way to rid pests and rodents from your rental property once and for all. They can use methods that are safe and efficient in order to be sure pests don't come back, your rental is infestation-free, and your renters are highly satisfied. When you have a pest infestation, don't hesitate to call on the professionals.

Prevent the Problem from Happening Again The best thing you can do to keep pests from returning is to stay on top of the problem. Inspect the property often, repair holes or cracks, ensure garbage gets picked up, and if necessary, schedule professional pest companies to come out on a regular basis. The more you stay on top of the problem, the less likely you or your tenants will have to deal with this again. Your tenants will thank you and will be more willing to recommend an owner who has their best interests in mind.

For landlords and property owners, troublesome tenants can be just as frustrating as hard-to-get-rid-of bugs, rodents, and other pests. Once you take care of the pests and have the property as perfect as can be, utilize our services at Tenant Background Search to ensure you're only accepting the most ideal occupants for your property. We screen potential tenants thoroughly and quickly, giving you access to credit scores, criminal records, eviction reports, sex offender registries, and more. The time you take to run a tenant background search will be well worth it when you have nothing but responsible, clean, and financially stable tenants in all of your income properties.

Commercial Leasing to a Business and the Added Risk

When it comes to lease agreements and doing a background check on a tenant, most people consider this a need for only residential, or home rental/landlord, agreements. It's true that these situations should necessitate tenant background checks, but this is not the only case where screenings should be utilized. As more and more people are finding success in the residential rental market, they are acquiring more capital to dabble into the commercial side of the real estate industry. Whether it's a boutique, restaurant, or dry cleaners, it is important to not only do a background and credit check on the business, but also on the individual owners. Even though the potential for profit is higher when leasing commercial property, so too are losses and liabilities.

Residential VS Commercial

When dealing with residential property, you are typically dealing with individuals or families that are looking for a place to live such as a house, apartment, or townhome. What is mostly used in these situations are rental agreements, and properties can be leased for one-year periods or less and rent is paid on a monthly basis. A standard screening is sufficient here and only the working adults need to have a tenant background screening done.

Commercial property is different. This is not a place of residence for the lessee; this contract is for the sole purpose of running a business out of the property. This commercial space should only involve the sale of goods or services, or provide a place where goods are manufactured. Even though commercial renters do not have the same legal protection as residential renters, you still have to protect yourself not only with the lease agreement, but also by knowing what type of business and business owners you are allowing to use your property. The last thing you need is for things to go south on one of your commercial properties and be stuck in a legal battle for an extended period of time.

Protect Your Investment

Besides running an adequate credit check on the business itself and the business owners, it is also important to run background checks on them. You cannot just depend on the three credit bureaus' reports when determining if your commercial tenants will be a low- or high-risk partnership because their reports will only give you their credit history and rating. This is assuming that the business is not a startup and has a credit history to begin with. Do not think it is acceptable to only run a report on the business tax identification number and think that will suffice. For a comprehensive report that can list the owner's credit, criminal record, employment history, and any eviction they have ever had, Tenant Background Search is here to help. You are not only forming a partnership with the business, but you are also forming one with the individual owners. Make sure to protect yourself and your investment in your commercial property by running a comprehensive tenant screening on all owners in the business with Tenant Background Search.

Four Ways Tenant Background Screening Benefits Your Tenants

We know that you have a lot of great reasons for doing tenant background screenings. You want to find the best tenants who are respectful of your property and financially responsible. Most tenants are understanding of these things, and a lot of them may even appreciate your thoughtfulness in selecting tenants. But you're bound to have some prospective tenants who are frustrated at your requirement to complete a background screening. While some people don't want their potential landlords to know their entire financial history (which is probably a red flag), others may just think it's an unnecessary extra step and additional expense. However, when you choose to require tenants to complete a background screening prior to them moving into your property, you actually bring great benefits to your current and future tenants.

It Weeds Out High-Risk Tenants

While tenants may think this doesn't affect them, it actually does. When they're confident that none of their neighbors are criminals or sex offenders, they will sleep easier at night and feel more comfortable in and around the rental property. Tenants don't have to worry that their neighbor is untrustworthy or irresponsible, and they don't have to stress about their car being broken into at night or their apartment being ransacked during the day. Tenant background searches allow residents to trust that you, as a landlord, take pride in your rental property and are committed to serving your responsible tenants to the best of your ability.

It Keeps the Rental Property Safer

Knowing the criminal background of tenants will help you ensure that your property is as safe as possible. It will give your tenants peace of mind to know that their neighbors are good citizens, but it will also keep your property safer all around. Minimizing theft of all kinds, both big and small, will make your property safer and your current tenants happier. At the same time, knowing that your residents have substantial income will help reduce the threat or risk of minor theft. When you're confident that your tenants can pay their bills, they are less likely to resort to thievery in and around the rental property.

Properties Are Better Maintained

As stated above, properties are going to be in better condition when tenants are responsible, respectful individuals. But from a financial standpoint, this is true as well. When tenants pay rent on time, landlords don't have to spend time, energy, and resources tracking residents down to collect the money they are owed. This leaves more time for landlords to address any maintenance issues you may have or take care of any landscaping or trash issues that may arise. Additionally, when landlords receive all the money they're owed, they have more money to spend on keeping the property well maintained.

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