In this Video:
- Tips for verifying rental history with past landlords
- Discover why eviction history reports are the crux of the tenant screening
- How to conduct a thorough employment screening
It’s one minute long. Stop reading and just watch the dang thing!
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Peeling the Onion
Sure, you pull credit and criminal reports, but that only gets you so far. What else do you need to know about prospective tenants?
First, a few words on the limitations of credit reports. Credit reports are extremely useful, but they don’t tell you everything you need to know about a prospective tenant. Tenant credit reports will show you the applicant’s payment history for their bills, which is a helpful piece of the puzzle. But they don’t tell you whether they’ve ever had evictions filed against them. Credit reports don’t tell you what kind of employee the applicant is, whether they’re likely to be fired, or exactly how much they earn. And unless the last landlord reported rent payments to the credit bureaus, credit reports don’t tell you whether they paid their rent on time.
Lucas Hall, founder of Landlordology, chatted with us about tenant screening and some of the subtle signs that an applicant may not be the boy scout he says he is. One of Lucas’s secret ninja methods for screening tenants? Insisting on two prior landlord references. “The applicant’s current landlord might say anything to get rid of them,” Lucas explains. “But the prior landlord will know how the property was left after the tenant vacated, and will be able to describe any deposit disputes.”
Evictions, Employment, Embellishments
Landlords and property managers should also run eviction history reports, instead of just relying on credit reports and criminal background checks. Eviction history is in some ways more important than either credit or criminal backgrounds – it gets to heart of whether the rental applicant has been a bad tenant in the past.
If everything checks out, the landlord should then call up the applicant’s direct supervisor. What kind of employee are they? Do they show up for work on time every day? Do they habitually slink in hung over and reeking of Mad Dog 20/20? How much responsibility are they entrusted with? What are the chances they will still be working there in a year from now?
If the supervisor gives glowing feedback about the applicant, ask to be transferred to the human resources department. Confirm exactly when the applicant started work there, and exactly how much money they make. How do these compare to what the applicant stated on their rental application?
Applicants who lie about little things on their rental application may well be lying about big things, too. And they are starting the relationship on a foundation of lies; a terrible sign if there ever was one.
Stay tuned for more 60-Second ROI Boost videos!♦
Have any tips for advanced tenant screening? Nightmare tenant stories? Pearls of wisdom you’d care to share? We love hearing from readers… share in the Comments section below!