Four Steps to Take When a Tenant Won’t Pay Rent - Tenant Screening Blog

Even if you're making a concerted effort to engage in tenant screening, all landlords, at some point in their careers, will likely face tenants who avoid paying rent. While there are many reasons this can occur (some legit and others not so much), when you know the proper steps to take, you'll be able to get the situation resolved in a prompt and efficient manner so you can put it behind you. Here are five steps to take when a tenant is refusing to pay rent.

Step 1: Talk to the tenant about the issue.

The first step when a tenant isn't willing to pay rent is to speak to them about the reasons. While some will have financial issues, others may be withholding rent for reasons such as their roof is leaking or their toilet needs to be fixed. There may also be a problem with a roommate moving out, so the renter can only make a partial payment.

Whatever the reason you're given, it's up to you as to what actions you want to take next. If someone doesn't wish to pay because they want something fixed first, you can let them know the repair date and show them it's on the calendar.

Step 2: Find out your state laws.

Each state is different in how they handle tenants who don't pay their rent. The more knowledge you have about landlord rights in your state, the more prepared you'll be when you approach a tenant who isn't paying. You'll also be better equipped to handle any legal threats they make towards you because you'll already be aware of your rights.

Step 3: Decide if legal action is required.

If a resolution isn't happening between you and the tenant, the next step is to decide if it's time to bring in your lawyer. He or she will be able to offer guidance, as well as a solution for closure in this situation.

Step 4: Protect yourself with a plan.

Even though you try to weed out these individuals in your tenant screening process, people still exist who try to get out of paying the bill. The best action you can take as a landlord is to have a proactive plan in place, ideally before you're even faced with this situation. While each tenant is unique and can be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, it's still going to be crucial that you know exactly what steps to take when faced with an unpaid bill. Knowing the laws of your state and involving your lawyer at the right time will help prevent past due months, as well as give you peace of mind that you'll be ready when it does happen.

No matter how the tenant acts, be sure that you remain calm and professional throughout the entire process. It's important that you keep a cool head, so you can make smart decisions during this time. In some cases, your tenant will react in a positive way to your professionalism, and you'll be able to resolve the issues in a single conversation because they were treated with respect.

Thankfully, these issues are becoming more and more rare thanks to the tenant screening solutions that Tenant Background Search offers, starting at just $19.95

Social Media: Five Benefits for Landlords

In addition to tenant screening information, we also try to occasionally provide marketing tips for landlords. The following blog post is about how landlords can leverage social media:

It's become apparent to almost all business owners that social media is here to stay. And even more importantly than that, when using social media correctly in your marketing plan, you can see some pretty fantastic results. Here are five benefits that social media offers landlords, and a few tips on how to get started.

#1: More Exposure than Traditional Marketing

Sometimes the hardest part of getting new people to rent is getting the word out that you have space available. When you have a room, apartment, or other property available, write an engaging call to action and post the images of the space on your social media account. Many people will know one or two people who are looking for a place to live, and they'll share it on their page for everyone to see or send the link to their friend. This will provide you with brand exposure and is an incredibility easy way to get the word out.

#2: People Get To Know You

When you invest the time to make your social media outlets full of images and add your personality into the mix, the places that you rent will seem more appealing and you will come across as more approachable. Social media is a great way to create a casual and stress-free relationship with your current and future tenants. Take the time to post events you have by the pool or showcase your freshly landscaped lawns, and choose welcoming images of yourself and the staff to post.

#3: You Get People Involved

Don't just think that when you run a social media account for your rental property that all you can talk about is rental issues. If you offer studio apartments, post articles about how to make the most of your space. If you find that the majority of people living in your apartments are singles, have weekly recipes that cater to meals for one. The more you focus on the tenants that actually live in your place of business, the more people will get involved in liking and sharing what you put out there.

#4: You Reach a Larger Audience

It might surprise you to know that some people go to social media for almost all of their information, and you should take advantage of this. Not only will an active social media account give you an edge over your competition, but you'll reach an entirely new group of people that you haven't marketed to before.

#5: You Stay in Front of People

Even if you're at full capacity, it's a good idea to stay in front of an audience and keep your name on their minds. It's crucial that when you sign up for a social media account for your business that you're ready to invest the time in it. A stale social media account is almost worse than not having one at all. You want to show people that you're fresh and available, and you do that by sticking to a regular posting schedule and adjusting posts based on what your audience is most engaged in.

In addition to regular tenant screening, social media can be a great way to monetize and protect your investment.

Finding the Best Tenants with Tenant Screening

As you're looking to fill vacant rooms, you want to make sure that you're finding the best potential tenants you can. You want to avoid tenants who may not pay or who won't be kind and courteous to you or to your other tenants. If you don't find the right tenants for your apartments, you may end up driving away loyal, paying tenants while keeping non-loyal tenants who consistently forget to pay rent.

Tenant screening can help you to identify better candidates for your apartment so that you can avoid certain tenants that are not ideal for you, your apartments, or your other tenants.

Request Information
In order to thoroughly complete a tenant screening process, you will need certain information from the potential tenant. Information that you will need includes their full name, social security number, current address, existing landlord's name (and phone number), employer (and phone number), income, addresses they have lived at, and the names of all individuals who are planning to occupy the apartment space.

More or less information may be required depending on the tenant screening process you choose. You will need written and signed consent from applicants in order to do a thorough background search.

Tenant Screening
Without tenant screening, you are taking a chance and shooting into the dark. You could try to take the tenant's word for their ability to make payments, their lack of a criminal history, or any other claims they make. With tenant screening you can know for certain whether or not what they are saying is true.

Tenant screening will provide you with a comprehensive list of information to help you make the most informed decision. There should never be any reason that a potential tenant does not go through your tenant screening process.

Online Background Searches
Online tenant screening, like those at Tenant Background Search, are fast, easy, and affordable. Without an online service to do background searches, you will be stuck trying to do all the background checks yourself on your own time, and you will need to make sure you're doing them correctly in order to get all the pertinent information.

We recommend an online background search as this will save you time and searches can be completed much more quickly. Otherwise it is up to you to do all of the searches locally on your own, and you may forget to search certain data or information.

Filter the Results
Once you have enough information, you can begin to filter out the results based on certain criteria. First, you may choose to look at the potential tenants' criminal history nationwide. After that, you might begin looking at a tenant's financial history. Have they been able to make payments and have consistent income to support themselves and make consistent payments? You can filter the results however you see fit, based on what criteria is most important to you. Once you've filtered the results, you should be left with some great tenant options to lease your space to.

Are you ready to get started with tenant screening? Stop by Tenant Background Search today to get started. We will help you find better tenants by searching across the nation for important, relevant information of your potential tenants.

Tenant Screening Helps Tenants Feel Safe

As a landlord, you want to ensure that all of your tenants feel safe and comfortable. They know that they have little or no control over who their fellow neighbors will be, whether they're living above, below, next to, or down the street from them. New tenants are moving in and out all the time. Dealing with having new neighbors on a consistent basis is to be expected among apartment-living individuals and families.

Tenant screening can help your loyal tenants feel safe when they know that their neighbors have been thoroughly screened. Your tenants will feel safer, more comfortable and more likely to pay on time when they don't feel stressed or in danger from other neighboring tenants.

See how tenant screening can help you, your apartment, and your tenants feel safer and more comfortable as you bring in new tenants.

Nationwide Records and Reports
At Tenant Background Search, you will be able to search for criminal records and eviction reports on a national level, rather than a state level. This provides you with even more information and a comprehensive search on a potential tenant's past.

No Invasive Inspections
With an online tenant screening, all of the background searches are done online or behind the scenes. There are no invasive inspections that would make a tenant feel uncomfortable. Other companies' searches may require a more invasive inspection which can result in turning away kind and loyal tenants.

Avoid Sex Offenders
Tenant screening will help you to identify any sex offenders in the area. Some existing tenants, including those with families, will feel uncomfortable if a sex offender moves in without proper notification. Knowing that all of your background searches will look for this will help your existing tenants feel a little more comfortable.

Discover Financial History
With tenant screening, you can look back into the past of a potential tenant's financial history. More advanced tenant screening can help you to look into even more information, such as any bankruptcies, foreclosures, employment summaries, and more. By using tenant screening, you can identify individuals who are more likely to pay and less likely to claim bankruptcy to avoid having to pay rent.

Advanced Criminal Searches
Tenant screening allows you to do advanced criminal searches to dig into the criminal past of an individual. From eviction histories to nationwide eviction reports (including judgments and non-judgments), you can make a calculated and well-informed decision on whether or not he or she is morally sound to live in your apartments with other tenants.

And More!
These are just a handful of the benefits of tenant screening that help your existing and future tenants feel safer and more comfortable living in your apartments.

Ready to get started with tenant screening? Stop by today and get started! Send us a message if you have any questions or need assistance. With tenant screening we will help you to make the best decisions when filling your apartments with tenants.

How Landlords Keep Great Tenants

The first and most important step to finding a responsible individual to rent your property is to obtain a tenant background check on your applicant. A written document perfectly outlining an individual's credit history, criminal history, eviction history, and rental history is the only way to guarantee that you are choosing someone suitable to maintain your property and honor their rental agreement.

In today's society, it can be difficult to find such tenants and, unfortunately, proof of reliability needs to be on paper. That is why it is essential to also perform tenant screening on the potential tenant. If you are fortunate to find a tenant who has good credit and a history of following rental agreements, then it is best to make every effort to keep that tenant. Keeping a tenant is easier than you may think! Here are some tips on how landlords keep great tenants around.

Tip #1: Maintain the Home
Many tenants choose to rent property instead of purchasing a home of their own so that they are not responsible for maintenance or replacement of things that break. Inevitably, something will need to be maintained, fixed, or replaced during a lease. If it is your responsibility as the landlord to fix anything within the home, and to do so quickly and efficiently. If you want a good tenant to stay, take their requests seriously and have the work done at the same pace that you would want it done if you were residing in that home. By showing that you care about your tenant's needs and the quality of the property, your tenants are much more likely to sign a new lease at the end of their current rental term.

Tip #2: Consider Keeping Rent Costs the Same
If you have a tenant that stays through their lease and follows all lease agreements, offer them a new lease at the same cost. Raising rent costs encourages tenants to look elsewhere, but offering the same rate as before encourages them to stay with you. A few months before your tenant's rental terms expires, offer the tenant a new lease at the same rate.

Tip #3: Offer Cash Back for a Longer Lease Term
As many landlords know, there will be times that your home will sit without a tenant. Ideally, you will have a new tenant lined up to move in as soon as another tenant moves out; however, this is not always the case. When you find a responsible tenant to live in your home, consider using an end-of-term bonus as an incentive to sign an extended lease. You may write in your lease agreements that upon completing a two-year lease, the tenant will receive a certain amount of cash back. Be sure to write in your lease agreement that this is not part of the deposit paid and any damages to the house will still be deducted from the deposit.

Keeping a good tenant is always more ideal than finding a new tenant, but when it does come time to find a new tenant, be sure to use Tenant Background Search to assist you. We are here to make sure that you choose someone who will care for your home the same way you do. Remember, when you find your perfect tenant, use these simple steps to keep them!

Investing in Student Housing

Are you considering purchasing a property near a college or university with the intention of marketing your property as student housing? This can be a great investment and there are benefits of owning a property near a campus, but it is accompanied with some factors that are different from that of a regular rental property. Before you invest in a property for student housing, be sure you have educated yourself on the unique factors of owning a property that is to be occupied by college students, and make sure it is an investment you are ready to make.

Marketing Your Property
Among the best factors of owning a rental used for student housing is that there is little to no marketing involved in finding a tenant. When you own a property near a campus, potential tenants will come in crowds. If you post an ad announcing you have a rental space available, you are guaranteed to have applicants lining up to try to occupy your vacant rental.

Finding Applicants
By owning a property near a campus, you will always have a high supply of future tenants. With this being the case, you have the control of being pickier about who you choose to occupy your space. You don't have the pressure of choosing the first candidate that shows interest in your property since there will be many potential tenants enquiring. This also allows you some peace of mind knowing if one tenant breaks a lease, you can quickly have a new tenant in place.

Protecting Your Investment
College students often get a reputation for destroying homes, but a college student can in fact be just as responsible as any adult or family occupying your home. Many college students are enrolled in school solely for the education and hold jobs in addition to attending school in order to make an income. Housing college students is not necessarily a risk in and of itself, but you should make sure you are prepared for any incidents that could occur while students are living on your property. Your rental agreements should be written to protect you from any damages should an incident occur. You should also consider a larger security deposit than you would typically collect to be confident that you have a deposit that will supplement any potential damages. You will also want to do some tenant screening to ensure they are being totally honest with you.

Selecting a Lease Term
Typically a lease agreement lasts for a year. Unfortunately, when renting to students, a one-year lease is not always going to meet the needs of the market you are reaching. You will need to adjust your lease period to match the school year being followed by the nearby college.

Summer Vacancies
Your tenant's lease term is likely to end at the beginning of summer when college students return to their hometowns. This could mean that your property will sit vacant throughout the summer months. Take the possibility of summer vacancies into account when you are setting your monthly rental rate to ensure that you are making a profit off of your property all year round. You should also consider renting to those enrolled in summer school. If you choose to market to summer students, make sure you have a written rental agreement specific to summer tenants.

Owning a student housing property is unique and should be treated so. If you are unwilling to waver from the typical rental lease agreements, then student housing may not be an investment you should make. On the other hand, if you are able to be flexible with your rental agreements, you may experience great success investing in a student housing property!

Understanding Landlord Security Deposits

One common mistake many landlords make is not learning enough about security deposits. We often think that the process goes like this: name a price suitable to cover potential damages, include the price agreement in the lease, and have the tenant sign the lease and pay the deposit. Once the tenant's lease has ended, assess damages to the property, decide what amount is needed to cover damage expenses, and refund remaining amount to the tenant. The problem in this process lies in the damage withholdings. Many states require landlords to itemize the amounts withheld and do so in a specific timeframe. In these states, any amount of money retained in poor judgment by the landlord can result in penalties against the landlord. Here are a few tips to help landlords with security deposits.

Security Deposit Tip #1:
It is common for a landlord to keep an entire security deposit when a tenant breaks their lease. A landlord feels that it is justifiable to keep the deposit since the tenant did not fulfill the lease agreement. In many cases, this is illegal. A landlord is often required to make multiple attempts at re-renting the property to a new tenant. If the landlord is successful in the attempt to find a new tenant, a pro-rated amount based on the time that has passed should be reimbursed to the tenant who broke his or her lease.

Security Deposit Tip #2:
Any landlord should consider a partially deferred security deposit. A deferred security deposit simply means that a renter is given the option to pay their security deposit in installments over an established timeframe. Typically, the deposit would be collected in three to six monthly payments of the same amount each month. A partially deferred security deposit makes most sense when you have a potential tenant with good credit that lacks the finances to pay a full deposit up front. This can also help the landlord collect a higher deposit by allowing a tenant the freedom to pay in installments.

Security Deposit Tip #3:
A landlord must understand the tenant-landlord laws specific to his or her state. These laws provide clarity pertaining to the rental and residential dwellings and the rights and obligations of the tenant and landlord. These laws will cover maintenance requirements, landlord security deposits, and occupancy and access guidelines. It is in a landlord's interest and protection to know these laws, but they are often difficult to understand. To assist a landlord in comprehending the laws, it is beneficial to find a real estate attorney that is familiar with tenant-landlord laws in your state.

Landlord Security Deposit Tip #4:
Make certain you understand the complexity of the laws pertaining to the following:

• Whether or not the tenant accumulates any interest income on security deposits preserved by the landlord
• Any limitations on amounts that can be charged as a security deposit
• Whether or not a landlord is required to keep security deposits in a trust account until funds are returned to the tenant

It is the best practice to always choose a tenant that you believe will care for your property. It reduces the hassle when your property has limited or no damages and most or all of the tenant security deposit can be returned to the tenant. By processing a tenant screening with Tenant Background Search, you will learn the history of the tenant you are choosing and will have the comfort of knowing you have chosen someone who will be responsible with your property.

The Importance of a Tenant Screening

If you are a landlord or property manager, your primary goal is to protect your investment. Having reliable and responsible tenants is crucial to your own success. Using effective tenant screening helps you find a good tenant who will pay rent consistently on time, not break their lease, and not damage the property. Tenant Background Search is a comprehensive tenant screening solution designed to help you secure your investment. A comprehensive tenant screening will give you a detailed report of the tenant's history, criminal records, credit score, eviction history, and much more. Tenant Background Search will help you lessen potential risk and future liability by giving you the information you need to make an informed decision regarding lining up responsible tenants for your rental properties.

Correct and Current Information to Help You Make the Best Decision
A tenant screening report from Tenant Background Search will provide you with current information on potential tenants. You will be able to verify their identity and credit, and search for a criminal background. By checking an applicant's credit report, you can see what their payment behavior is like. You can find out whether they have a history of on-time or late payments. You can also see the amount of debt they may have that could potentially affect their rent payment each month. Tenant Background Search allows you to identify high-risk tenants before you are faced with costly and stressful situations or evictions. You can also view employment summaries, past address history, and eviction history. The more information you can acquire, the better you can protect your investment by weeding out problem tenants.

By operating a reliable tenant screening process, you will also decrease your chances of being accused of practicing discrimination. If you are using the same fair criteria on all applicants, you are able to base your decision on facts and evidence and therefore avoid discrimination issues.

Tenant Background Search reports are fast, accurate, and affordable. By ordering one of our three tenant screening packages, you can eliminate time-consuming paperwork and procedures that will only slow down the entire application process. We make your job as a landlord or property manager so much easier by quickly getting you the information you need to easily select the right tenant.

Tenant Background Search Offers More Information
Tenant Background Search offers three tenant screening packages so that you are able to choose what best fits your needs and budget. Included in our basic Standard Tenant Screening package are nationwide criminal records, sex offender search, and OFAC/Patriot Act search. The Standard Tenant Screening is only a one-time fee of $19.95. Our Standard Plus Tenant Screening package includes everything offered in the Standard plus a credit report with Fico Score, bankruptcies, foreclosures, medical collections, employment summary, known aliases, past address history, and eviction history for judgments. The Standard Plus package provides you with so much more at only $22.95. For $29.95, you can order our Comprehensive Tenant Screening package which gives you a separate Nationwide Eviction Report in addition to all that is offered in the Standard and Standard Plus packages.

Tenant Background Search provides landlords and property managers with fast, easy and affordable tenant screenings. We are partnered with the largest and most reliable data warehousers to give you the most complete and accurate information available. Secure your investment today with the most trusted and established tenant screening solution in the industry.

Top Qualities To Look For In A New Tenant

Whether you own a single rental property or you're the manager of a large apartment complex, hopefully you understand the importance of a thorough tenant screening. Throughout the tenant screening process, there are a few key qualities that you'll wan to pay close attention to. These qualities will give you insight as to whether you have found the right tenant for your property.

1. They don't put up resistance when you mention a detailed tenant screening.

While you might not always get the comprehensive tenant screening for each person that applies to rent from you, it's important that your tenant be willing to go beyond a basic credit check that many landlords use. If you find a potential renter to be argumentative about getting a detailed tenant screening that involves a background check, then a red flag should go up. You want tenants who are honest about their past and have nothing to hide, so that you can determine whether they're worth the risk.

2. They don't mind if the landlord or manager visits the property.

In most cases, landlords will announce that they are going to be coming by at certain times, but there are other instances when they aren't able to let the tenant know ahead of time. Owning property comes with a lot of responsibility and if there is a storm that causes falling trees or power outages, or if other routine maintenance is required, visiting the property may be required. If you are interviewing a potential tenant and they don't approve of the landlord coming over, then they might be hiding something. Ask them what their concerns are, and if you aren't confident in their answers, take a second look at their tenant screening report to see if it provides an explanation.

3. They have quality references.

Let's face it – it can be easy to get your best friend to write a great reference for a rental home or apartment, even if they know that you destroyed the carpet in your last residence because you hid a cat in the bedroom. A quality tenant can provide you with real information and solid references. Past landlords, roommates who are not friends but were simply living companions for the sake of smaller bills, and co-workers who have seen the living and working quarters of the person all may have good insight as to whether or not they care for their surroundings.

4. They read and understand the lease agreement.

It can be surprising that once the tenant screening is done, the paperwork is signed and the move in day is scheduled, your new tenant is shocked to find out that they aren't allowed to paint the walls in their new place bright orange. Or they find that they can't bring their 150 pound dog with them, when the lease agreement clearly states no pets over thirty pounds. A quality tenant will have read, listened to, and understood the agreement that was set forth in the beginning. If you want to be confident that they read it, have them do it front of you, and then ask if they have any questions once they are through.

A good tenant can make a landlord's life much easier, so be sure you get your tenant screening done, you pay attention to their references, and make sure they know the rules. Once you go through this process, you're more likely to be happy with your new renter.

Top Three Reasons to Perform Tenant Screening

Do you have a room for rent? Have you chosen to lease out an investment property? Are you in search of another person to split an apartment lease with? If so, it is critical to ensure that the person you will be allowing to reside in your home is responsible and stable. You will want to know if there are underlying issues with these people to not only ensure your safety, but the safety of your property, the safety of your neighborhood, and/ or the safety of your investment. Even tenants who are referred by family or friends can be a risk if you don't look into their history.

Tenant screening is the only way to protect yourself and do your best to ensure that you are choosing a tenant who is going to be financially reliable and safe in your home. When screening a tenant, you may choose to pull credit reports, criminal background checks, eviction reports and more. Here are the top three reasons why you should have your tenants pre-screened before you sign papers and hand over the keys.

1. Make (and save) money. If you are sharing an apartment, you need to know the person you choose to share this space with is going to follow through with their half of the pay. If you are renting out your house, you are doing so in order to make money off the investment that you have already made. If you unknowingly choose a tenant with a history of late or missed payments which results in poor credit, you have set yourself up to lose the money. By running a tenant screening report, you are protecting your investment and income by knowing your tenant's ability to pay.

2. There is no way to be able to look at someone and know who they really are. The most polite, nicest, and charismatic person could have a list of criminal activity a mile long. By performing tenant screening, you are able to see what your prospective tenant has done and is potentially capable of doing in the future. If you want to ensure the safety of your high-cost real estate property, your belongings, and the safety of your neighborhood, it is crucial to know the people attempting to reside inside. The background check performed during the tenant screening will give you helpful information to make a decision.

3. The eviction process can be a taxing and time consuming course of action. If the tenant that you deemed kind and responsible turned out to be a dreadful tenant and you have to go through the eviction process, you're in for a long ride. The best way to avoid having to deal with the stress of the eviction process is to skip the assumptions and educate yourself on your prospective tenant's eviction history. By performing a thorough tenant screening, you will be able to see the errors that your prospective tenant may repeat in the future.

Tenant screening will provide information as to how responsible a tenant is likely to be based off of their past history. No amount of screening can guarantee zero problem tenants; however, if you opt not to screen you open the door to many unpredictable outcomes. Tilt the odds of getting a responsible tenant in your favor by performing tenant screening before you sign the lease agreement and hand over the keys.

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