Is Your Applicant Telling the Truth?

by | May 25, 2010 | Tenant Screening

The stakes are high when renting your unit. If you choose the wrong applicant, you may end up paying for an eviction, or find your rental property damaged.

landlord credit checkBut how do you know if your applicant is telling you the truth?

Tenant screening is a two-step process that requires Factual Reconciliation and Independent Verification.

Pre-Screen Rental Applicants

When an applicant phones about your unit, you have an opportunity to screen them. Don’t let them ask all of the questions. It helps to have a script ready so you can ask the same questions of everyone. That’s easier for comparison, and also a safe way to avoid discrimination claims.

Choose questions that may be on your application:

When are you available to move in?
Where are you living now?
Why are you leaving?
Where do you work?

Try ending the conversation by asking the applicant for a description of his or her car so you can identify them when they swing by for a tour.

During the tour, ask additional questions. Bring a notepad to jot down answers. Listen for inconsistencies from previous conversations, or from friends or family that may be touring with this applicant.

tenant screeningOnce an applicant has completed the rental application, it’s time for a little detective work as you review their answers.  Did they leave blank spaces on pertinent questions? Is the employment information consistent with earlier conversations? Is the car listed the same one they arrived in? Any attempt to avoid disclosing information, or providing conflicting information is reason to reject this applicant.

Conduct a Landlord Credit Check

With the factual information you have already collected in mind, run your tenant screening reports. Compare the information, paying special attention to rental history and employment. These reports will offer independent verification of the facts. Equally important, they will show you what you didn’t know – and help you avoid financial loss and potential liability to other tenants and neighbors.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Services, 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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