A Proprietor’s Guide to Tenant Screening

Finding the right tenants is the key to making the most out of your rental properties. Unfortunately, it’s not as straightforward as it sounds. With numerous screening laws and fraud being prevalent in the industry, choosing the right tenant could take time –especially for clueless property owners.

Here are three steps to get you started in screening potential tenants and avoiding headaches during the process.

Reasons to Screen Potential Tenants

First, it’s essential to determine why you’re conducting the screening process. Goal setting could help you identify certain factors that you may need to put more attention to. For instance, if you’ve experienced having to evict a tenant, you may want to focus more on looking into a candidate’s current financial status and credit history.  If your goal is to build a family friendly community within your property, you may need to direct your screening process towards checking personal references and criminal report to learn more about the candidate.


Understanding Screening Laws

Screening laws differ from state to state. It’s important that you’re well-informed about your state regulations so you could stay compliant. Otherwise, you may run the risk of discriminating applicants or invading their privacy. In addition, this prevents any screening complaints against you.


The Department of Housing and Urban Development implements the Fair Housing Act. This protects seven classes, which includes race, religion, and disability. The act helps you avoid being partial to certain types of applicants or setting different terms for different candidates.


Performing Background Checks

For many property owners, background checks serve as a layer of protection against fraudulent candidates. A standard background check includes looking into the following information:

  • Personal details
  • Address history
  • Employment history
  • Criminal records
  • Credit report
  • Eviction history


You may find it difficult to do this on your own and when it comes to rentals, time is of the essence. The longer your property stays vacant, the more money you lose. Addiitonally, performing background checks on your own could put you at risk of not being able to verify important data due to your limited resources.


To ensure you’re able to perform a thorough background check without violating any regulations, consider getting a tenant screening service. This type of service gives you access to more information than when you’re verifying information on your own. You could easily get a clearer picture of your potential tenant’s status and decide whether they’re a good fit.


Tenant screening may seem like hard work but with the right screening service, you could choose quality tenants confidently. Here are Alert Checks, we perform nationwide background checks that meet industry and government standards. We’ll look into your potential tenant’s credit report, criminal records, references, and more. Call us at (866) 382-5378 to learn more about our tenant and employment screening services.