Tenant Background Checks: What Every Landlord Needs to Know

Tenant background checks are critical every time you rent, not only to avoid unpaid rent, but to avoid renting to a sex offender or other at-risk tenant. While a credit check in important, it is not enough.

These are the reports available for your tenant background check:

Credit Report. This paints a picture of the prospect’s ability, and willingness, to pay.

Previous Address History. This report melds the SSN with previous addresses, and includes date ranges. This information provides locations for criminal and eviction reports, and can flag SSN violations.

Statewide or National Criminal History. Used to avoid bringing an at-risk tenant onto your premises.

Sex Offender List

Terrorist List

Eviction History. This is a statewide report. Cross-check against the Previous Address History.

In addition to these reports, it is critical that you demand a completed application from every prospect, and interview them face-to-face. If something seems “fishy” with this new prospect, it probably is. Don’t discount your instincts!

Did you know that your chances of collecting tenant debt may depend on what information you collect before the tenant ever moves in. Read our series,Seven Vital Tips to Help Collect Tenant Debt featuring collection expert Bill Gray of Fidelity Information Corporation.

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