What is a Good Tenant?

Tenant Check September 13, 2019
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What is a Good Tenant?

Alright, you are ready to rent your property! You’re well versed in local landlord-tenant laws and have your checklist ready. If you have your property listed, you are ready to start accepting applications and screening those potential tenants. This part of the process can be time-consuming, but putting the work in now can save you on potential litigation and hassle later on. 

Credit Check

Can the applicant pay their rent? This is probably the first question you will want to ask yourself when screening potential tenants. Reviewing an applicant’s credit history can help you see how reliable they are when making payments to their credit cards, student loans, personal loans, and other creditors. Many tenant screening services offer results that provide you with either a credit score and other pertinent information or a more predictive score designed for tenant screening.

ResidentScore, a predictive score from Whitepages TenantCheck, is optimized to prevent evictions and gauge if the applicant is a good fit for your unit financially. Evictions are costly and doing a tenant screening or credit check can help alleviate some of the risks associated with a failure to pay rent.

Background Check and Eviction History

Are there going to be other complications? Getting a background check and eviction history on an applicant is important to make conclusions outside whether or not they can pay their rent. A tenant may look good on paper, but after a closer inspection, they move often and have been evicted from previous rentals. You will need to process background checks and credit checks on all adults that will be living at the property. If you are using a tenant screening service, these will be bundled together. An eviction history for each applicant is usually available for an additional fee. Background reports, generally, will provide you with previous addresses, phone numbers, criminal history, and other public information. Note: Knowing your local city and state laws is critical at this stage. Some states prohibit the use of criminal history when determining eligibility for a rental property.

Social Media Review

Getting into other ways to make a decision can be difficult to gauge based on your local laws, tread lightly. You can use social media to see if an applicant will be a good fit, but this can also be risky when dealing with Fair Housing Law. This avenue can be helpful to see if they are likely to abide by the rules of your property. If you are allowing pets in your rental, social media can be the best way to judge the true nature of the pet. For most pet owners, their Facebook and Instagram profiles can be very enlightening. Remember, when searching for a potential tenant on social media sites, ensure you have the right person before you start making decisions on their public-facing data. For best practice and to avoid a potential lawsuit, if you have a question about what you’ve seen on an applicant’s social media, you can always ask them.