Tenant Screening: It’s What You Don’t See That Counts

by Chris on July 15, 2013

A diligent landlord will get a completed rental application from any prospective tenant. From there, they will review the information to see if the tenant is qualified for the particular rental.

The information a landlord receives on the application can be verified to determine if the tenant appears qualified. But, sometimes it’s what you don’t see that matters most.

tenant screeningA rental application will not contain information that a tenant is trying to hide. For that, you need some sort of cross-referencing tool. This is just one of the reasons that credit reports are an important part of screening tenants, and minimizing income loss.

The agencies that produce credit reports have developed evaluation tools that pinpoint the most common reasons why an individual in question may not be financially responsible.

Here are some examples of what you might see on a credit report that you will not see on a rental application:

1. Personal information that doesn’t match your applicant, like a birthdate that is a generation different than the applicant’s apparent age.

2. Alias names the applicant has used in other situations, but left off the application.

3. Previous addresses that may not be listed. This could reveal an undisclosed eviction.

4. Unexplained gaps, like long periods of unemployment or periods with no apparent address, which need further explanation.

In addition, credit reporting agencies can give you an independent, objective view into the tenant’s financial habits. For example, is this person living beyond their means? Do they often disrespect due dates on installment contracts — just like a lease?

These reports are also a window into what this applicant has told other creditors.

The only way to get a complete picture of the applicant is to compare what they’e willing to tell you with what their credit report reveals about them. The comparison will quickly tell you if you’re getting the full story.

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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