Tenant screening is a vital part of the leasing process as it protects the property, property owner, and the local community, all while ensuring that Fair Housing Guidelines are being met. With legislation in the past year attacking the use of criminal and eviction records in tenant screening, it’s more important now than ever that landlords and real estate agents band together to voice the value screening has. If you are uncertain whether or not you want to utilize tenant screening on your rental property, take a look at the benefits background screening has to offer.
Tenant Screening Protects your Property
First and foremost, tenant screening protects your property. By screening applicants for any criminal history of property damage, violent offenses, or other serious crimes that could pose a higher risk to your property, you can substantially reduce your liabilities and better protect the community. Including eviction records on your applicants’ background checks is another essential piece of information to objectively learn what type of renter they’ve been in the past. You’ve invested a lot of time and money into your rental property – so why not use tenant screening to protect that financial investment?
Quick Tip: Be aware that some major cities, states, and federal courts are aiming to restrict the use of criminal and eviction records in tenant screening. The Tenant Protection Act was just introduced to the Senate recently and would prohibit your tenant screening provider from showing eviction records on your report unless (among other things) the record was no more than 3 years old. Currently you see eviction records on your tenant screening reports that are dated up to 7 years.
Tenant Screening Safeguards You
You want to rent to someone you can trust, but how can you determine that the applicant you’re reviewing is trustworthy while adhering to the Fair Housing Act (FHA)? Tenant screening can help you find an applicant that you can trust while avoiding nasty FHA lawsuits. With the credit report in your tenant screening, you can also determine whether or not they’re financially responsible enough to send you rental payments. There’s nothing worse than renting to someone who does not pay their rent… or pays it late.
Tenant Screening Guards your Other Tenants (if you own multiple units) and Local Community
Whether you have other tenants on the same property or not, tenant screening can help keep your local community safe. With a tenant screening company that checks through databases like the sex offender registry list, the terrorist watch list (OFAC), and the International Police Organization (INTERPOL), you’ll ensure that your tenants don’t tarnish your reputation with the community. Plus, if you’re planning on doing yard maintenance or property repairs yourself, screening your applicants might give you a little more peace of mind.
As more legislation gets pushed out aiming to restrict landlords’ and real estate agents’ rights, it’s more important now than ever that we stay aware of the positive effects tenant screening has – and fight to maintain those benefits. Moving forward, make sure you’re using the best service to fully protect you and your property and subscribe for legislative updates.