Most property owners use a tool called a tenant background check before deciding whether to rent a house or apartment to an applicant. A tenant background check reveals a lot about a person’s character. This includes whether they pay bills on time, whether they’re listed on the national sex offender registry list, or whether they have a criminal past. While some states prohibit landlords from discriminating against rental applicants based on information contained in a background check, others do not.
If you’re using a background check to vet potential tenants, make sure you understand the laws in your state, so you don’t inadvertently discriminate against someone who’s applying to rent a home.
Parts of a Tenant Background Check
When you order a background check on a new applicant, it will come back with information divided into several categories. These include:
- Credit Summary
The first section usually reveals your applicant’s spending habits. You may see how many loans they have outstanding, as well as dollar amounts. You’ll be able to tell whether they’ve ever declared bankruptcy. You may be able to see their rent-to-income ratio, as well.
- Financial Summary
This part will tell you whether they’re currently behind on any payments, and if so, how far. You’ll also learn whether they have judgments or liens against their personal property. You’ll also see how many hard inquiries they have on their credit report. A lot of inquiries means they’ve recently applied many times for credit.
- National Criminal Database Check
This category of your tenant background check will reveal aliases that your applicant has used in the past. You’ll see any crimes with which they were charged and whether they were convicted or acquitted. This section also ensures the social security number your applicant provided is linked to a living individual.
- State Rental Records Search
This section of the tenant background check alerts you to whether your applicant has ever been evicted from a rental property anywhere in the state.
At the bottom of your tenant background check, you’ll find pass/fail/conditional recommendations for renting to your applicant. Most landlords place big emphasis on the results of a background check because it sometimes reveals information an applicant is trying to hide. However, it’s also a helpful tool for determining whether someone is financially capable of paying the amount of rent you’re requesting. Sometimes, the applicant, himself, is simply unaware he can’t afford a certain level of rent. By stopping the process before security deposits are made, you can help the applicant avoid financial distress one or two months in the future.
Let Barefoot Professional Investigations Help Vet Your Rental Applicants
If you’re considering renting a home or apartment to people you don’t know, it’s a good idea to order a tenant background check before handing over the keys. This not only protects you from costly and difficult eviction processes, but it acts in the best interest of the applicant as well.
Call Barefoot Professional Investigations in Charlotte, NC, to find out everything you need to know about the people who will be responsible for living in and caring for your property. Barefoot Professional Investigations brings 30 years of experience and a highly regarded reputation to the table. Contact us today to learn more about how we can vet the potential tenants in your applicant pool.