Every rental business owner would want to secure his business and properties by screening prospective tenants prior to entering into lease agreements. The screening process takes time due to a number of things that have to be considered such as the potential tenant’s personal background, lifestyle and financial status. Most landlords don’t have ample time to conduct the investigation by themselves. Luckily, there are various tenant screening services provider that can help landlords find their ideal tenants.
In this article, we will discuss various benefits of hiring tenant screening service companies instead of conducting the screening process by yourself. But before we proceed, let’s first understand what the tenant screening service is about and its importance.
Understanding Tenant Screening Services
As mentioned, tenant screening is the best way to protect your rental business from bad tenants. Bad tenants may mean occupants who do not pay on time, who cause damage to rental property or who create public disturbances. Through tenant screening, rental business owners will be able to rationally choose tenants based on factual information. Failing to pursue background check is a huge mistake. Just because the tenant has money to pay for the advance deposits doesn’t mean he can pay for the whole duration of his tenancy. Background check process is time-consuming; hence, availing tenant screening service is highly recommended.
Tenant screening services are usually offered by companies that collect personal information about potential tenants. This process involves checking tenant’s credit history, criminal background and eviction history; and sending those to rental business owners or property managers as references to assess if prospective tenants are capable to pay rent on time and are not criminals who may cause problems in the future.
Why Hire Tenant Screening Service Provider?
Aside from the timesaving benefit, hiring a tenant screening service also gives you accurate results – with the use of their tools, reliable database and analytics expertise. Below are some of the reasons why hiring a tenant screening service is advantageous to your rental business.
Complete Tenant Screening Package
Tenant screening services typically include credit reports and nationwide criminal background checks. You can also request to add eviction history in their reports completing the data you need in order to select the best tenant to rent out your property to. Credit reports usually include Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) score, credit account details, payment history, judgement, bankruptcies and other credit red flags that are useful in rental business. Criminal background reports include any fraud alerts, identity verification, sex offender data and most wanted list, as applicable. The information is pulled from various databases of agencies such as Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and ODAC, just to name a few. Having comprehensive credit, criminal and eviction reports is way better than a simple check on the applicant’s financial status.
If you are new to rental business and has limited knowledge about the compliance requirements, the tenant screening service provider will take care of you. Most tenant screening service companies follow the requirements of Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and their reports are in compliance with FCRA and other similar state laws which are applicable in the location.
Request Online Screening
In this digital age, tenant screening services offer an easy online process. Landlords or tenants can request and fill up the application form using their mobile devices from anywhere as long as there’s an internet. Just set up a free account, request for screening (either landlord or tenant will pay) and provide the tenant’s personal information by filling up the form. You’ll receive the results either via email, fax or phone.
How to Choose Tenant Screening Services
Partnering with reliable tenant screening service companies makes the landlord’s screening process easier and faster. But tenant screening service companies aren’t built the same way and don’t offer the same screening process. So, choosing the provider with services that will best fit your needs will require careful planning. Below are some of the things that you need to consider before availing any tenant screening services.
Know the Source of Data
Receiving credit, criminal background and eviction reports is one of the top features of a tenant screening service. But where do these data come from? Is the source reliable and accurate? Do the sources include governmental database like FBI for criminal background checks? Does the credit report include FICO score? Does the eviction report contain detailed and comprehensive data? Ask for sample reports and check if data are enough to tell whether an individual could be a good or bad tenant.
Check Customer Service
Check the level of customer support by searching customer feedback and reviews. You can also try to call and ask them some questions to check how they handle customer inquiry. Of course, not getting answers and solutions on time is disappointing.
Compare the Price
Choose the tenant screening service that offers a well-rounded screening package at a very affordable price. To know the best price, make some research and list your top five based on the first two considerations above. Compare the prices taking into account the inclusions and exclusions or plans and packages. You can never go wrong with a complete screening package at $30 – you can use this figure as your baseline.
While it’s true that tenant screening services can provide landlords valuable insights on potential tenant’s historical background, it’s still a requirement to make reference checks. You should personally check employment status and conduct face to face interview. As examples, you may want to ask the following:
- Does he or she smoke?
- Does he or she love to party every night and come home late?
- Does he or she have a plan to look for a roommate in the future?
- Does he or she have a pet?
Depending on your preferences, you may want to choose prospective tenant who is not financially well-off over a tenant who smokes, loves to party and has a pet. Also, trust your instinct. If you feel that he or she is a good person, then go for it. However, be careful of tenants who are good at acting and smooth-talking when next you are conducting interview, or better still, opt for tenant screening service company.
There are lot of benefits to have from hiring a tenant screening service provider in carrying out the duty of interviewing and running a background check on your tenant, do not overlook those benefits for a meagre amount of money. Go for it and have yourself peace of mind over your investment.