The Important Questions You Need to Ask in a Tenant Background Check

The Important Questions You Need to Ask in a Tenant Background Check

How much can you possibly know about a random person you run into on the street? Would you let them into your home, let alone rent a room out to them?

The point of a tenant background check is to eliminate any fear or anxiety you may have about a potential tenant. It verifies that they are not some kind of wanted criminal and that they can afford to pay rent while they stay on your property.

Here are some important questions property management should ask when tenant screening.

Can I Run a Tenant Background Check?

The first thing you should get before you run a background check is permission. Verbal consent doesn't count for this, though. You'll need to get some form of written consent before you can run any checks.

You can include this in the rental application or a different form. This will allow you to perform thorough and necessary tenant screening.

What is Their Employment History?

Another part of your tenant background check is seeing if they can afford to pay rent every month for the term of their lease. This is done by confirming their current employment via either bank statements or tax records.

If an applicant does not have a consistent form of income, then they can't be trusted to pay on time every month.

How Were They as a Tenant?

Another area to explore is how an applicant was as a tenant for their prior landlord.

Most notably, you'll want to know if they caused any damage to the property. Did they pay their rent on time and keep to themselves? Were they easy to communicate with or difficult to reach?

Do They Have Any Pets?

One important factor for landlords is whether or not to allow pets on their properties. On the one hand, many potential tenants will have pets and want a home that allows them. However, animals can damage your property, and their owners don't always take responsibility.

Either way, find out in advance if they have pets. You can always add an additional charge to allow them.

Do You Know Their Criminal Background?

Arguably one of the most important parts of tenant screening is the criminal background check. This allows you to see whether or not an individual has a criminal history, what the crime was for, and how long they served their sentence.

You can only deny housing if the criminal record was recent and/or makes the person a potential risk. You must also provide reliable evidence to go with the denial.

Keep Your Property Secure and Safe

A tenant background check is one of the most important steps before accepting a new tenant. You need to know if they're a dangerous individual or if they can even afford rent. It's also good to know if they need any special accommodations due to disability or some other factor.

PMI North Jersey offers property management services for both property owners and tenants. We'll run the background checks on your behalf so you don't miss anything. Contact us if you have any questions or concerns.