Tenant Screening: A Guide for Landlords

Tenant Screening: A Guide for Landlords

It would be great if you could rent to people based on your first impression of them. In a lot of cases, a first impression does mean you'll have a positive experience with someone. 

Tenant screening is essential when you're dealing with your rental property, though. There are a number of reasons to follow a rigid tenant screening process. When you do, you'll reliably end up with the best tenants at your rental properties.

We're going to talk about the screening process today, giving you some insight into what it is and how it works. Let's get started. 

Tenant Screening Essentials

The first thing to do is check with the Texas background check guidelines to ensure that you're not breaking any laws as you find tenants. You should also look over the Fair Housing Laws to make sure that your screening process is compliant with those regulations as well. 

Once you're familiar with what's allowed throughout the process, you can move forward with your screening regimen. Note that any investigation or checking that you do needs to be agreed upon with the tenant. 

Get the agreement signed as a part of the tenant's application process. Once you're cleared to do the screening, take a look at the following areas. 

Verify Their Identity

The first box to check is that the person is who they say they are. Check to make sure that they have a legitimate ID. Further, check the rental history listed on their application against the credit check you run. 

If there are any questions about their identity, you can reach out to previous landlords or inquire into their employer to verify. Note that the employer can also confirm income requirements. 

Criminal Background Report

Background check services should provide you with in-depth looks at a person's history. If they have any criminal history, those instances should show up on the background check. 

Note that you can't use the background check in any discriminatory way. You get to use your discretion to determine what kind of criminal history is allowable on your property, but it is illegal to give preferential treatment based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin. 

It's particularly important to run a comprehensive background check if your property is located anywhere near a school. 

Credit Check

The credit check is a good way to verify that the income listed on the application is accurate. While a credit report doesn't always indicate the person's immediate finances, it tells you a lot. The credit report should be able to show any evictions or other significant financial issues

Note that there are more areas you can explore in a background check. You can be as thorough or relaxed as you want to be. The key thing is that you look through the items listed above to get a solid idea of the tenant's history with rental properties. 

It's also essential that you find out whether the person is a threat to you, your neighbors, or your property. 

Need More Tips for Rental Properties?

Hopefully, our look at tenant screening was useful to you. There's a lot more to learn if you're starting out as a landlord, though. We're here to help. 

Contact us for property management services, pricing, ways to find tenants, and a whole lot more. 

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