What is a tenant? Why do I need to conduct a background check on them? And who should conduct the tenant screening?
What is a Tenant?
A tenant is an adult who has signed a lease or rental agreement (or has an oral rental agreement) with a landlord to rent property, such as an apartment, condo, or house. The tenant has a legal relationship with the landlord that creates various responsibilities for both parties. The tenant is also referred to as the “lessee” of rental property. The tenant may use and occupy the rental property as longs as she/he complies with the terms and conditions of the rental agreement, including, but not limited to, the payment of rent. In every state, tenants are afforded certain protections under the law.
Why do I need to conduct a background check on my tenant?
A tenant must be thoroughly screened before leasing your property to her/him. Whether you own an apartment complex, a number of duplexes, or even a home or two, knowing exactly who your tenants are is paramount. Conducting a proper tenant background screening can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. A tenant credit check will indicate whether your tenant pays on time or if at all. A tenant screen will indicate whether you are renting an owner’s dream or a nightmare.
As a property owner, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Tenant screenings provide owners with a certain level of security and help deter undesirable situations. This is why choosing the right background service is so important. Most background screenings are relatively economical, however, one must consider the quality and the know-how of the screening company.
A thorough background screening should include criminal history, evictions, and a credit check. There are a number of ways to obtain these reports, but the fastest, most cost-effective, and best method is through an online company. The pricing usually ranges between $25 to $100 depending on the depth of your report.
Who should conduct the “tenant screening?”
The key to finding the right background screening service, or tenant screening company, is simply to research. Seek out ones that follow the law and regulations when it comes to conducting background checks. Avoid shady firms as they can lead to getting you into some pretty hot legal water. Violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act or a Consumer’s Right to Privacy is something you want to avoid at all costs.
Make sure the background screening service:
- Has a valid business license
- Possesses a clear and concise pricing
- Defines their total process for protecting sensitive information
- Has proper paperwork for needed consent and release of information
- Verifies the name of the applicant, DOB (Date of Birth), and Social Security Number (SSN)
- Follow all the laws pertaining to the Fair Credit Reporting Act
- Searches Circuit Court and County Records for every county the potential tenant has resided in for the past five years
- The screener has customizable services such as Patriot Act Terrorist Watch List searches, Office of Foreign Assets searches (OFAC), and landlord reference searches
- Verifies the accuracy of your completed report
Conducting background screenings is not a negative thing. It is not used to cast judgment on the character of potential tenants, however, it should be used as an indicator as to what type of tenant you’ll be renting your property.
Gravitas Investigations offers tenant screening that includes: Credit History, Evictions, Criminal Backgrounds, and much more.