A rental application is a powerful tool for landlords. It contains all the information necessary to screen a tenant and to manage the landlord-tenant relationship.
But this tool is only as good as the information provided. That’s why its crucial to verify that information, starting with the very first question — the tenant’s name.
Without a tenant’s accurate and full legal name, a landlord can face difficulty:
Running an accurate tenant background check;
Enforcing the lease agreement;
Obtaining an eviction order; and,
Collecting a judgment.
What seems like the easiest question to answer is also the easiest to fake.
Landlords can minimize income loss by taking some simple precautions:
Ask for the applicant’s name, and the name of any proposed occupants, when the individual first calls about the property. Ask for the proper spelling at that time.
Meet with the applicant prior to the property tour, and view a photo ID. Unless your local law prohibits it, make a copy of the ID. Take a moment to review the ID, to determine if the name is the same as provided on the phone, if the photo appears to match the person, and if the birthdate or other information realistically matches that person.
Make sure the rental application has enough room for the full names of all applicants. Encourage the applicants to use first, middle and last names. Ask if the tenant has used other names when obtaining credit.
Check the signature on the rental application and watch for discrepancies.
Watch for alias names not revealed on the rental application, along with other discrepancies on the credit report and other tenant background reports.
Use the full name on the lease agreement, and check the tenant’s signature to make sure it matches.
A little extra effort in verifying the applicant’s identity and keeping the name consistent throughout the leasing documents can save thousands in lost rent and legal fees.
This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).
Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.