There are many important considerations to understand before getting a tenant background check. For example, you need to know what types are available and how to perform them. It is also crucial to have an insight into the benefits of this process when renting out to potential tenants in your town.
What is a Background Check?
A tenant background check is a screening of a person’s criminal background. However, it also includes checking into their credit and other aspects of their past. For example, you’ll learn about their employment history and aspects about where they lived in the past. These background reports are essential as a way of getting an insight into the quality of your tenant.
For example, it is possible to know whether or not they committed dangerous crimes in the past. A good background check also lets you know whether or not they broke leases with other landlords. Information like this is essential because it often helps you choose a higher-quality tenant. Rather than picking someone with a shady history who you cannot trust, you can find someone with a clean past.
Are There Many Types of Background Checks?
A tenant background check isn’t a singular process. In fact, there are many types of background checks that can be used when investigating a potential tenant. Many of these reports check a tenant for criminal activities. Others do not. The basic background screening processes you can utilize include:
- County courthouse criminal records
- State court databases
- Federal crime records
- Sex offender registries
- Terrorist watch lists
- Credit reports
- Tenant history information
- Eviction notices
The type of report that you get depends on how much you are willing to pay. Some people will only pay for a basic criminal background check. While this information is useful, it may ignore problematic credit issues that indicate a tenant may have money concerns. The more types of background checks that you order, the better your understanding of renting risks.
How Many Benefits Does This Process Offer?
When considering this kind of background check, it is important to know what kind of benefits they offer. The advantages will vary depending on what type of screening you purchase. The major positives gained from buying a multitude of background checks include:
- Decreased renting risk – You are more likely to find a reliable tenant.
- Improved insurance coverage – When you rent to safer tenants, your insurance will cost less.
- Lowered personal stress – Great tenants are easier to manage and keep you from high levels of personal stress.
- Eliminated discrimination problems – Renting to a diverse range of trustworthy tenants helps decrease your chances of discrimination accusations.
- Improved renting process – Finding tenants at a faster rate makes it easier to rent your properties more quickly and avoid high levels of turnover.
- Protected current tenants – Renting to the best tenants protects your current renters from people with problematic histories.
- Avoided liability issues – Avoiding problematic tenants helps protect you from liability cases if that tenant misbehaves.
These are just a few of the ways that good background checks benefit a landlord. Each of these advantages has its positives that are worth investigating. For example, building a history free from discrimination makes it easier for you to find more renters in the future. It also helps to make your property a more desirable property, increasing its value and boosting your reputation.
Where Can You Get Background Checks?
When considering these kinds of screenings, it is crucial to know where to get them. Typically, it is as easy as contacting the proper authorities. For example, most county sheriff offices will do a local background check for you. You can also communicate with the FBI and have them do a larger and more in-depth criminal examination. In this way, you can make sure you get all the relevant information you need.
Credit checks are also simple to obtain. There are many companies that you can contact that will do an independent analysis of a person’s credit. Past renting history is a little trickier to obtain. It comes from information given to you by the potential client. As a result, they may leave out bad experiences with former landlords.
However, it is possible to get a record of a person’s past homes and find eviction notices. A tenant with multiple removals is problematic. You can get this information at most county courthouses. It is also possible to contact their past landlords and learn why they were evicted.
The benefits of a good tenant background check are legion and help protect you against the kind of tenants who would take advantage of you. It is important, though, to listen to what a potential tenant has to say about a spotty criminal history. For example, they may have had a hard early life and are looking to move past it. It all depends on a variety of different factors.
So you shouldn’t necessarily turn down a tenant just because of a lengthy criminal history. After all, people often deserve a second chance. That said, a person with a dark history of frightening or disturbing crimes should probably be avoided. It all depends on your feel for the individual. As a landlord, you’ve probably developed a pretty good instinct for people. Use this ability and your background check to find the best possible tenant for your property.