Ten Compelling Reasons to do a Credit and Background Check

It’s your responsibility as a landlord to provide your tenants with a safe place to live. One important step to doing that is screening your prospective tenants as thoroughly as possible without breaking any laws. One of the easiest ways to accomplish that is to run a credit and background check on all your applicants.

It’s your responsibility as a landlord to provide your tenants with a safe place to live.  One important step to doing that is screening your prospective tenants as thoroughly as possible without breaking any laws.  One of the easiest ways to accomplish that is to run a credit and background check on all your applicants.

There are at least 10 compelling reasons to do a credit and background check:  

  1.  To confirm the identity of the applicant
  2. To verify the information given on the application
  3. It provides you with previous addresses so you can check with previous landlords
  4. It gives you an overview of the prospective tenant’s bill paying habits
  5. It allows for verification of employment and income information
  6. It allows you to determine whether the tenant can afford the rent
  7. Local, state or national criminal background checks can help you keep violent criminals out of your rental property.  Sex offender status can help you keep sex offenders out and the Patriot Act can help you keep anyone under government suspicion as a terrorist or an international narcotics trafficker out. 
  8. Eviction information, when available, can let you know if the applicant has ever been evicted for non-payment of rent or may be a repeat offender-also known as a “professional rent-jumper”.
  9. Liens, judgments, or bankruptcy information that could possibly affect the tenant’s ability to pay, now or in the future. 
  10. It could support your reason for denial of tenancy against any claim of discrimination  

We are all aware that we are in times of an economic crisis and some honest hard-working people have been hit hard by the state of the economy.  So, if you run an applicant’s report, you don’t really have to be too hard-nosed about a credit score. There is so much more information in that report that can help you make an informed decision as to whether you should accept the tenant.  Just be fair and treat everyone the same. Treating all applicants the same is important to avoid violating any Fair Housing Laws.   

To get further information about how to collect credit and background reports, and what your responsibilities and legal obligations are as a person collecting the credit/background check on an applicant, Click on the E-Renter ad below.  This site also has a very informative Tenant Screening Blog that you should visit.  

Need to obtain consent to perform a background check on prospective tenants? Click here for this easy-to-use Consent to Background Check form.

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