Tenant screening for property management companies is necessary to ensure that responsible, trustworthy renters occupy a home or other rental property. Screening can give you valuable information such as a tenant's credit history, criminal background information, or any other data that might disqualify an applicant from renting a home.
There are several types of tenant background checks that you can conduct to determine if an applicant is a viable candidate for a rental. Let’s take a closer look at different checks that may help you during the decision-making process.
Social Security Number Trace
A social security number trace reports current and previous addresses, any known aliases, and other public information about the applicant. You may also see information regarding criminal or credit activity.
Keep in mind that a social security trace does not:
- Verify that the Social Security Number belongs to or is associated with the applicant.
- Belong to a consumer report.
- Constitute any basis for accepting or rejecting an application.
Criminal Record Check
A criminal background check allows you to search for any illegal conduct that a potential tenant has engaged in. The report includes everything from a misdemeanor such as petty theft, public intoxication, or vandalism to a felony such as drug-trafficking, DUI, assault, fraud, or robbery.
You can conduct a criminal record check for local, state, federal, and international crimes. A criminal background check typically includes the following information:
- Name and known aliases
- Charges or convictions
- Prison term
- Sex offender registry entry
The information is usually drawn from court records, official police reports, or other legal documents. When looking at a criminal record, assess the severity of the crime, repeat offenses, and the date of the violation.
Keep in mind that some states prohibit criminal background checks from sharing specific information connected with criminal activity. In Texas, you can find out about arrests, prosecutions, and the disposition of a case where an individual is arrested for a class B misdemeanor up to a felony.
It is important to note that some states prevent criminal background checks from displaying certain information about criminal records. For instance, California only allows records to show convictions, not arrests. Other states policies vary. To limit your liability and improve your results, consider working with a background screening company that knows your state and local laws.
According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you must obtain a signed, written release from the applicant before you can perform a criminal background check. If you turn down the applicant on the basis of a report, you must inform the applicant and provide a copy of the report.
Sex Offender Registry Check
When it comes to tenant screening for property management companies, some states do not allow landlords to discriminate against convicted sex offenders. Check the laws in your state to find out what regulations apply to your property management company.
The registry entry may include the following information:
- Name of the offender
- Date of birth
- Social security number
- Previous addresses
- Vehicle information
- Crime or offense
- DNA sample
When a sex offender moves into an area, he or she may be required to register with local law enforcement depending on the severity and nature of the offense.
Tenant Credit Checks
A credit report is one of the core criteria that a property management company or landlord will use to determine if an applicant is a good candidate for a home or apartment rental. The primary purpose of the credit check is to determine if a tenant is capable of paying recurring debts, utilities, or other bills on time consistently.
What can you view on tenant credit checks?
- Bill payment habits or patterns
- Rental history
- Amount of debt and list of creditors
- Account payments that are current and on time
- Bankruptcy history
The bottom line: Is the tenant financially responsible? Can you depend on the tenant to pay rent on time each month?
While many property management companies require proof of income such as a bank statement or paycheck stub, you may want to go one step further in requiring an employment verification. An employment search gives you the individual’s employment history including their current position.
You may even be able to find information such as professional affiliations, dependability, integrity, character, work ethic, and other employer reviewers. It gives you insight into the applicant’s character and reliability. Employment verification also gives you an indication of the potential tenant’s stability. Can they hold down a job or are they looking for new employment every six months?
Tenant Background Checks for Your Property Management Company
At CNet, we offer tenant background checks for property management companies who are looking for trustworthy, reliable tenants to occupy rental homes, apartments, or townhouses. Our services are reliable, and our data is up to date.
To find out more about the services that we provide for property management companies, contact us today at 877-742-0005. You can also schedule a meeting with a member of our team at a time that works for you.