By Olivia Creighton
As a landlord, your properties are your livelihood. You’re invested in them, and you expect to make a return on those investments. In order to maximize your return, you work hard to keep everything running smoothly and keep your tenants happy. Tenant screening can be an important tool in protecting your profits and getting a good return on your investment. With background screening, you are taking a step towards safeguarding your profits and property, as well as finding the right renters.
Tenant screening tells you a lot about a person using objective information based on each applicant’s prior actions. The information that a tenant screening report provides helps you to paint a picture of a person and gives you an idea of who you would be renting to. Finding out information about applicants can help to prevent things such as property damage, complaints, fines, missing rent payments, and even vacancies. A high quality tenant screening report mixed with your defined rental criteria can help mitigate some of that risk and protects both you and your rental property investments.
Without a doubt, you have some sort of criteria that you judge applicants by. As much as you may think that you can tell a lot about a person by the car they drive or the job they have, you’re not getting an accurate picture of the person in front of you and you’re actually breaking the law. HUD strictly enforces the Fair Housing Act (which prohibits using discriminatory leasing practices), and, if you don’t use objective data and adhere to renting guidelines, the odds are extremely likely that you will be sued. This makes tenant screening especially important, as the report provides you with impartial data to review everyone against the same standards, and compare applicants using identical criteria to help avoid costly liabilities.
Damage to a property can cost a lot of money, sometimes more than a security deposit can cover. When you rent to someone, you’re putting your property in their hands and trusting them to leave it in the same condition that they found it. The background checks provided in a tenant screening report can tell you if an applicant has a history of property damage, or any other judgments demonstrating their inability to maintain tenancy. Knowing this information acts as an upfront protection for your property, reducing the risk of damage and saving you from paying hand over fist for repair costs.
There is no doubt that evictions are costly, and not a process that any landlord looks forward to going through. With a tenant screening service that includes eviction records, you are able to see if an applicant has a history of being forcibly removed through one means or another from their previous rental properties. A credit report detailing whether they’ve responsibly made payments on all their tradelines and accounts is another excellent way to see if this applicant could be a costly eviction risk.
Tenant screening can show you which applicants are the most likely to be model tenants, ones that you would want to continue renting to after their lease is up. Vacancies can cost you a good deal of money, so your goal is renting to applicants who you hope will be able to stay for the long haul. Background checks allow you to see if a person meets the standards you have for a renter, from whether they make enough money to pay the rent to whether you would actually trust them to do so. It’s these little things that can help to cut down on vacancies, and lead to a long-lasting relationship with a tenant that will keep your profits steady.
Tenant screening is a vital tool for any landlord, especially when it comes to protecting your profits. Damage, evictions, and vacancies can eat away at your bottom line, and the only way to reduce those risks is to make sure you’re placing the best tenants possible in your properties. A tenant screening report can make all the difference, and it’s a great tool to have in your arsenal. To learn more about tenant screening, be sure to download our tenant screening white paper.
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