Here’s one more reason why tenant screening is such an important step in your rental application process: it helps catch potential lies before you get stuck in a contract with someone who fudged facts. As a general rule, it’s nice to give people the benefit of the doubt and hope that they’re being honest with you. In practice, it’s very sadly not the reality. Depending on where you’re renting property, you may end up with a majority of honest applicants, or you might not. Either way, it’s in your best interest as a landlord and a business owner to make sure they’re not trying to pull the wool over your eyes.
Learn What to Watch Out For
It’s vital to know who’s applying to rent your property, who’s calling to ask questions, and who’s coming to see it. It’s not uncommon for people who have a great deal of trouble securing housing to attempt to modify details on their applications in the hope of getting through the initial screening process. They may alter the spelling of their name, use a relative’s contact information, submit a false pay stub, or change a digit in their social security number. These small details can be difficult to catch if you don’t do a more detailed check into the applicant’s background. We’ve written about how to recognize fake pay stubs before, and similar tactics can be applied to other altered information. However, the very best way to recognize discrepancies in your applicant’s information is through a detailed tenant screening.
An excellent first step is moving your application process online, rather than accepting only hard copies. Through an application hub, you can run verification on information instantly, as well as ask questions that may trip up any applicants attempting to fool the system. For example, some of the questions an automated system can return are inquiries about which county a former residence was in, a telephone number for a past job, or verification of social security numbers. Having to jump through additional hoops and answer questions they may not have prepared for will likely filter out many false applications.
It’s possible that someone determined to get through the additional verification you’ve set up with do so, and that’s when additional screening will come in. Using the information available to you, you can run a full criminal background check, credit report, eviction history, and more. Regardless of how an individual has tried to skew the facts on their application, the screening reports don’t lie. You’ll be able to easily verify all of the information they’ve submitted is accurate. From there, you’ll be able to make a fully informed decision as to which applicant is the best fit for your property.
For help in selecting the right tenants for your properties, we recommend our RentalConnect program. RentalConnect offers property owners and landlords a great alternative to the expense of full tenant screening. This service requires no on-site visit, sign-up, or membership fees, making it extra convenient. The $34.95 service fee is paid by the applicant. Available 24/7, RentalConnect is fast, easy, secure, and delivers reports needed to make an informed decision, including a credit report, a national criminal search, and a national eviction search.
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