A background check for an apartment can include a national criminal background check, credit report, eviction history, and employment history. Specific landlords or property managers may choose to run one or all of these screenings and applicants will need to give signed consent to have a background check performed. Many apartment complexes require tenant screening services for an application to be considered. Applicants are generally expected to pay an application fee to cover the cost of the background check.
How Background Checks Benefit You
The reason landlords and property managers choose to run tenant screenings is to protect their property and their business. Background checks and application fees are a method of narrowing the applicant field so that they only receive serious applicants who are less likely to have something questionable come up during their screening. However, every apartment is different, and some property managers may choose to only run a pass/fail credit report or check criminal history. Others may choose not to use screening services at all.
Laws and rental regulations vary by state.
It’s important to check your local regulations to make sure everything is up to snuff. Background checks and screenings are allowed for rentals, but some states have regulations regarding how much an applicant can be charged. If you have questions about anything, you should consult professional legal counsel with experience in your area.
Most people trying to rent an apartment are more concerned about the credit report than anything else. Can a bad credit score affect your ability to rent? It can, but many apartment complexes take multiple factors into account while reviewing your credit score, such as new VantageScore numbers, which are different from the old FICO Score numbers, or whether you’ve recently applied for a loan or new credit cards. They may look for patterns in your credit history, noting whether you’re generally good with payments or have a complicated financial history. If your score took a hit due to job loss or the recession, anyone reviewing your credit report should be able to tell and consider that accordingly.
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