Every landlord wants to rent to the perfect tenant. You want your property to be full of people who are considerate, reliable, and financially responsible. At the same time, you have to fill your vacancies so you can make money. You can’t simply wait around for the ideal tenant to ask for an apartment tour. Fortunately, there’s an efficient way to learn more about your prospective tenants. When you incorporate a background screening into your rental applications, you help make sure you’re renting to individuals who will take care of your property, respect their neighbors, and pay their rent without issue. To help you make smart decisions about who you rent to, here are six important reasons landlords need a full tenant screening process.
Ensure They Can (and Will) Pay Rent
One of the biggest questions a landlord needs to know about their tenants is whether they will keep up with their rent. You don’t want to waste time and energy every month, tracking a tenant’s payments. You also don’t want to go through the stress and cost of an eviction. It’s better to know your tenant’s financial situation from the beginning so you can have a better idea of how they’ll manage their monthly bills. Background screenings give you an idea of an applicant’s finances, as well as how responsible they are with their money. For example, if an applicant has a history of credit card debt, it could be a sign that they struggle to keep up with regular payments—a significant problem when their rent is due every month. On the other hand, if an individual has always paid bills and loans on time, you can probably trust them to do the same with their rent.
Protect Your Other Tenants
In addition to a credit report, a background screening will give you information on a potential tenant’s criminal history. It’s important to remember that a criminal record doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. For example, a minor traffic violation or an old misdemeanor might not accurately reflect an applicant’s character, especially if they can give an honest and heartfelt explanation of the situation. However, this part of the background screening can give you a better idea, overall, of what kind of person you might be renting to. As a landlord, you have a duty to protect your other tenants. If you don’t perform a background check, and then rent to someone who turns out to be dangerous, the blame could fall on you. A criminal background check makes you aware of a tenant’s past mistakes, letting you make informed decisions about who is allowed to reside in your property.
Learn More about Their Character
A criminal background check and credit report aren’t the only ways you can learn more about your potential tenant’s character. Other parts of the background screening process—such as education and employment verification—can tell you a lot about who your applicant is. Good grades, steady jobs, and stellar references all point to a responsible tenant who won’t be a problem on your property. Meanwhile, a history of evictions or broken rental agreements, multiple job changes, and unpaid debts can all indicate a less-than-trustworthy individual. While it’s always important to take the information from a background check with a grain of salt, it’s also better to know these things before making a final decision about a potential tenant.
Keep a Low Turnover Rate
One of the reasons landlords need a full tenant screening process is to avoid evictions as much as possible. The process of evicting a tenant is long, costly, and stressful for everyone involved. It also leads to a higher turnover rate. Of course, the turnover rate of a property isn’t a major concern for every landlord, particularly those in college towns, where residents aren’t necessarily looking for a permanent housing situation. However, a low tenant turnover rate can prove beneficial to your property. You save a lot of time and energy by renewing leases rather than finding new tenants. Plus, a low turnover rate indicates that your property is a desirable place to live, which helps draw in new residents when you have a vacancy. When you carefully consider who you’re going to rent to, you help build a relationship with your tenants that can last over several leases.
Rent to Upstanding Tenants
Including a background screening in your application process lets potential tenants know that you’re serious about who you rent to. As a result, you’re more likely to attract equally serious applicants. This can earn you a reputation that can make a major difference to your property. When you are selective with your rental applications, your tenants are more likely to develop a sense of responsibility regarding your property. They’re more likely to pay rent on time, take good care of their space, and address issues in a timely manner. All of this will help you build a smoother, closer relationship with your tenants, making life on your property easier for everyone.
Gain Peace of Mind
Both you and your tenants deserve peace of mind. Even if nothing goes horribly wrong, a poor tenant can lead to a lot of stress as you try to clean up their messes or track down their rent. Eliminate these and other potential problems by gathering plenty of information about a tenant before you accept them into your property. At the end of the day, you want to rest easy, knowing that everyone is safe and happy within your property. With the information you gain from a background screening, you can worry less about who your tenants are and focus more on other aspects of your job that need your attention.
PSI Background Screening prioritizes the safety of both you and everyone you rent to. Our wide variety of professional background check services, including reference checks and criminal history reports, help gather the information you need both efficiently and accurately. We’ll help you make smart decisions about your rental applications, letting you devote your time to your other duties as a landlord.