Why Tenant Screening is Necessary in the Midst of Pandemic
Jul 31, 2020 MicroBilt News
If you’ve been a landlord for any length of time, you understand, all too well, the ways tenants can do harm to your property. It isn’t always easy to tell, at first glance, which tenants are likely to cause problems, do damage, or cut and run without paying months’ worth of rent. Landlords know that evictions rarely provide favorable outcomes and end up costing a lot of money. That is why tenant screening is increasingly important – especially during a pandemic.
What Kind of Information Can You Learn through the Tenant Screening Process?
The tenant screening process is designed to help you identify potential problem tenants, those who may have financial difficulties that would render them unable or unlikely to pay their rent on time, and tenants who have criminal histories that indicate they may become violent toward your other tenants.
Different states have different requirements, but a thorough tenant screening would include the following three elements.
- Background screening.
- Credit report.
- Criminal history.
A background screening might reveal a history of evictions and the reasons for those evictions (lease violations, non-payment of rent, etc.). It will also reveal things like employment history. People with stable work histories, for instance, are typically better able to pay their rent on time. Additionally, background screening may search for bankruptcies, liens, and judgments.
While the credit report may reveal economic issues that could affect a renter’s ability to pay rent. Criminal history may reveal violent and non-violent crimes. Depending on the laws in your state, there may be restrictions on how you can use the information gained from a credit report.
It’s Not All About Paying the Rent
In the time of COVID-19, it is easy to shift your focus to tenants that renters will skip out on the rent. It’s certainly understandable with many local and state governments passing ordinances to protect renters from rent-based evictions without providing protection for property owners and landlords.
But that is far from the only thing property owners should be mindful of. In fact, it isn’t even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what background checks can reveal that may have you thinking twice about renting to some tenants. Some revelations from tenant screenings you want to specifically note include things like:
- Property damage.
- Animals in violation of rents.
- Neighbor complaints (remember you’re responsible for providing a safe and comfortable environment for all your tenants).
- Living with people who aren’t on the lease.
- A history of lease violations.
MicroBilt understands how important tenant screenings are to landlords at any time. Now that there is a pandemic, it is even more important than ever to rent your units with some degree of confidence that you’re making a good decision. Thorough tenant screenings that include background checks, criminal histories, and credit reports can help you do exactly that.