How to Screen Tenants Using a Photo ID

by Chris on July 29, 2013

Most landlords understand the importance of checking a rental applicant’s photo ID. But it’s not always obvious what to look for.

When you speak with an applicant over the phone, be sure to jot down the person’s name, current address, and phone number. Let them know they will need to bring a photo ID before being allowed to tour the property.

tenant screeningWhen the applicant arrives for a first meeting, ask for the photo ID.

Many ID’s will contain an expiration date. Is the ID current? If not, it may not belong to the applicant. If that happens, ask for a second ID to confirm.

Next, check the name. Is it different than the caller’s. If so, ask the person to explain.

Does the address match the current address the caller gave over the phone?

Now, take a close look at the photo. Does it match the description in the ID? Does the photo look like the applicant?

Unless it violates your local tenancy laws, make a copy of the ID. It’s always a good practice to leave that copy at your office when providing a property tour. Assuming this ID is not a fake, it’s also helpful to have the information when attempting to locate a delinquent tenant in order to collect a judgement. If this applicant isn’t going to work out, it may be best to return or destroy the copy of the ID after the tour.

If you are going to move forward with the applicant, the final step in the process is to run a credit report and check for discrepancies with the ID, such as alias names, a current address that doesn’t match, or information that would challenge the age or background of the applicant.

Asking for information at each stage of the leasing process, and re-confirming that information using multiple sources, is key to successful tenant screening.

That policy makes it much harder for scammers to find their way into your rental property.

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.

 

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