News & Resources

Necessary tenant screening processes

Jun 04, 2011 Matt Roesly

A recent article in online real estate magazine Bigger Pockets laid out steps for tenant background screening that landlords are recommended to carry out in order to protect their property and avoid conflict in the future. Often, examining credit reports can provide indications that a tenant may be risky. In order for landlords to be able to pull a prospective tenant's credit report, the individual must provide consent. Once landlord and employer references are provided, it is advisable to contact everyone who is listed and ask specific questions related to instances of rent lateness, court action, etc. Subsequently, a background check into the prospective tenant's criminal history is recommended. When the lease-signing stage is reached, landlords should ensure that it occurs inside the property so the tenant can inspect the current conditions. The lease should be clearly written and reviewed by a real estate attorney, and to affirm that the tenant has read every page, he or she should be required to initial the bottom of each. Using these practices could help landlords avoid so-called "professional tenants," such as Mark Newton, a New Jersey man who has spent almost two decades representing himself in court battles related to unpaid rent and bad living conditions that his landlords claim he created, the Star-Ledger reports.