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How To Perform A Tenant Background Check in Columbia

Performing a thorough tenant background check is one of the most important tasks you will face as a landlord. Learn more about the process in our latest post!

For many landlords, finding and screening tenants is one of the things they look forward to the least. However, you don’t want to rush the process just to fill a vacancy. Allowing a bad tenant to rent your property will only end up costing you more in the long run. Make sure you adhere to the process and take all of the precautions needed in order to protect yourself from tenant turmoil down the road.

Gather Information

Any tenant you are considering should first begin the process by filling out a rental application. This application will tell you many things about the applicant and should include the following fields. Their name, social security number, previous addresses, phone number, previous landlord information, job history and references, monthly income. You should also ask for their bank information if you plan on running a credit check. You will need a signed consent of your intent to run a background check, criminal history report and credit check. A credit check will require a special authorization form in order to be compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Look For Red Flags

Before investing in professional background checks, look for things on your own that might lead to tenant drama. For example, they list many jobs within a small period of time. Or their references seem a bit shady… like maybe they are using their friends instead of actual work references. It is fine to change jobs, but if they aren’t able to hold one down, they may have trouble coming up with rent each month.

Meet With Applicant

This is a person you will have many interactions with so you will want to make sure you get along. They will be living in your home and you need to feel comfortable with them being there. It is important to make sure this is someone of strong character, who is honest and who will treat your property as if it were there own. Of course, you won’t be able to tell all of this from one meeting, but you will be able to get a pretty good idea of what kind of person they are. Just like a job interview, ask a lot of questions. Ask them why they are moving, are they a smoker, do they have pets? Will they want pets in the future? Do they often have friends or family staying with them? While you don’t want to be too intrusive, these kinds of things are important when choosing tenants for your Columbia home.

Run The Reports

Take the time to run a credit check using the scores from the three major reporting bureaus. The background check must be done by an approved Consumer reporting agency according to the fair credit reporting act. This background check will show things like past criminal activity and if they are a registered sex offender. Some of these reports require a fee, so be prepared. You can offset this cost by including an application fee with the completed application. This will also ensure the prospective tenants you are working with are serious about renting your place.

Check References

You will want to reach out to past and present employers as applicable. Also, speak to previous landlords and roommates if possible This will give you a better idea of how they are day to day. You can ask for personal references as well, but these will likely simply friends of the applicant who won’t typically have any disparaging remarks.

Make Your Decision

This shouldn’t be taken into lightly. Think about all of the factors and what you have learned about the prospective tenant. Listen to your gut and don’t rent to anyone you are unsure about. Having the wrong tenant living in your Columbia renatl property can cost you a fortune.

Are you ready to buy a Columbia rental property? We can help! Send us a message or give us a call today! (803) 889-0840

Ben Lovro

Ben Lovro is an entrepreneur with a vision to improve neighborhoods and revitalize the communities that we live in. He has a clear passion for people and has developed effective strategies and real estate solutions in todays rapidly changing market. He is committed to being a lifelong student of Success Strategies and Leadership. Knowing what you want is perhaps the most important step in self-development; this takes much persistence and self examination. Once your desire to serve God overwhelms all other desires, you begin to step into your purpose and your mission in life changes. To be fulfilled in life you have to grow. The art of fulfillment is what develops our life into an expression for others to follow. Some of our greatest moments come from facing our fears and doing the things that scare us the most. You have been given one life, and one chance to tell your story. It's never too late to become the person that want to be.

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