A Hunch Isn't Enough: Why Tenant Verification is Essential

Many Realtors will tell you that meeting an applicant in person is all they need to verify their tenants. While an in-depth conversation can give you an idea of someone’s personality, it probably isn’t enough to get to know them as a renter.

Think of getting hired for a job. While the job interview itself plays a large role in the hiring process, you also provide a resume, references, and other documents proving you’re an ideal candidate for the job.

A proper screening report serves as an applicant’s resume. In addition to a credit report, a criminal background check and eviction history should be included in every tenant verification.

Why Your Hunch Isn’t Good Enough

screening reports

Just like everyone thinks that they are a good driver, everyone believes that they are a good judge of character. Even if you do have an uncanny ability to predetermine one’s morals, being a good person is not the same thing as being a good tenant.

While it is very important to have someone of high character residing in your property, they need to be able to get the rent in on time. Asking for proof of employment, calling references, and a comprehensive screening report are all necessary for a proper tenant verification.

It is easy to just request a credit report from your applicant. But like we’ve said in the past, you can’t always trust screening reports from the renter, as they can be easily tampered with. While this may seem like a lot of work, it is nothing compared to what you’ll face if you have to get involved with an eviction.

Additionally, you can find a service that combines an online rental application with tenant verification services for no cost to the real estate agent.

The Problem With Conversations

tenant verification

In order to get to know their applicant, a lot of realtors will talk to them at length at an open house or showing. While this is a great practice that should be included with every tenant verification, it shouldn’t be the only step.

People will often put their best face on while talking to a Realtor, especially because it can land them a new place to live. It is important to take this into account while speaking to prospective tenants, and take each comment from the applicant with a grain of salt.

A Proper Tenant Verification

tenant verification

Photo from Atlantic Training. Licensed by CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

In addition to proof of employment and referrals, obtaining screening reports is crucial to your tenant verification process (it’s also easier than ever).

Not only will this save you from evicting tenants, but it will solidify your reputation as someone who consistently refers good tenants. Establishing relationships with landlords can be a beautiful thing for a Realtor, and it can lead to plenty of future referrals.

Here is what should be included in your screening reports:

  • Credit Report : A full credit report is superior to just a credit score. Make sure you get this on your own, not from your applicant.

  • Background Check : Many times a criminal offense will not affect one’s credit. It is important to know if your tenant has a criminal history.

  • Eviction History : You want to avoid eviction at all costs. Someone who has been evicted in the past may be more likely to do it again.

After you’ve done your due diligence and collected all of this information, then you can follow your gut when choosing your tenant. While a hunch is a hunch for a reason, you can never be too careful when selecting your tenants.

About Ramsey Abushahla

22-year-old former college baseball player that has turned a passion for sports to a passion for writing. Avid music and movie fan. Born and raised in the ever-so-beautiful San Fernando Valley.

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