Renting out your property is a great source of additional income, but before you jump into the process, you need to make sure that you’re choosing the right tenant. Being sure that the person you’re renting to will treat your property with respect and pay the rent on time is worth just as much as that check you get every month. No matter how nice they seem when you meet them or how badly you want to get a new tenant in your place, taking the time to run a proper background check will save you headaches and money in the long run.
Here are the steps you need to take:
- Have them fill out an application completely. There are plenty of tenant applications available online, and each is a little different. Make sure that the one you choose includes more than just name, address and phone number. You want their banking information, their Social Security Number, their employment information including work history, and you want the application to spell out that you have the right to run a background check, credit check and criminal history report, as well as providing you with contact information from previous employers and previous landlords. The application should also request specific information on how many people will be in the property, whether there are pets, whether they smoke, and should ask for personal references and their contact information. If any questions on the application are left blank, don’t let it go – you need this information, and you need to pursue it.
- Get their credit score and run a credit check. Even if doing so costs you money, it will be worth it to find out whether they tend to pay late, have bankruptcy filings in their recent background, or are carrying insurmountable credit card bills.
- Use a professional service company to investigate their background, including criminal history and eviction notices. Most are able to run this information using the Social Security Number. If a person has a criminal record or a history of having been evicted, at the very least you want to ask them about it and possibly provide yourself with an additional security deposit or take other steps to protect yourself.
- It’s also a good idea to contact current and previous employers and landlords to ask about their experience, including whether they paid on time and whether they ever presented a problem of any kind, including noise or damage.
Taking the time to run a proper background check, conduct thorough interviews and get all the answers you need will give you a much better idea of who you’re dealing with when considering a potential tenant. For more information or help with the process, contact us today.