Why It’s Important to Run Background Checks on Your Renters

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Why It’s Important to Run Background Checks on Your Renters

If you oversee tenants, one of the most important things you can do it run background checks on all prospective renters. By doing so, you are not only protecting yourself from potential costly court fees from evictions, but most importantly, doing your best to help keep the neighborhood safe.

Keep the Neighborhood and Yourself Safe
The community that you’re helping to build is relying on you to keep the neighborhood safe. By making it publicly known that you run background checks on potential tenants, you are already attracting more high-quality applicants. In addition, by making it known that you require a background check for all tenants, you are discouraging those with red flags from applying. This transparency helps both attract the right potential renters and repel potential renters.

In addition to keeping the neighborhood safe, you are keeping yourself safe. It is important to note that neglecting to run a criminal background check can have costly penalties. If you waive a criminal background check, you might be liable if something were to go wrong.

Criminal Records
Checking for criminal records can give insights into someone’s character and any potential mistakes they may have had in the past. This isn’t always cut and dry, however. There are factors into criminal records that can play a role into whether the applicant should be a tenant. These factors include timeframe, severity, frequency, and relevance.

  • Timeframe – It is important to note how long ago the crime was committed. A crime committed a few months ago may be more important than a crime committed several decades ago.
  • Severity – The severity of the crime can also be considered. As an example, violent crimes may be considered less permissible than a crime like underage drinking.
  • Frequency – The amount of crimes can brighten the proverbial red flag. If someone has multiple arrests, the red flag would be much brighter than one crime.
  • Relevance – The relevance of a crime is a big factor. Theft, vandalism, and violent crimes should be more heavily considered compared to a speeding ticket, as an example.

Credit Score Indication
Having a good credit score is generally a good predictor of a good renter. It can take years and a lot of discipline to keep a high credit score, and those that have them, will do whatever it takes to keep them. So, when looking at credit scores, you know that someone with a high score is not only willing to make rent payments on time, they ensure that they avoid any potential problems in regards to their payment history. On the other hand, a low score isn’t always the end all be all factor. Some people just have no credit history yet. So, taking a close look at why a credit score is low is key.

Eviction History
Asking your potential renter for rental references can give you an insight into eviction history. If someone has multiple evictions, there needs to be a conversation about what happened and determine if it’s likely to happen again. Requiring tenants to provide rental references is another great way to weed out those with potential red flags.

Sexual Offenders
In many states, a separate sexual offense report can be run on potential tenants.  This is a great step to ensure that you are looking out for the well-being of the other tenants, and the community that you live in.

These are many of the factors that go into why it’s important to look at background checks for all potential tenants. If you have specific questions regarding why background checks are important and which factors you should consider, please contact us today.

Shelly Henderson
Shelly Henderson
Shelly calls herself a “Charlottean” because her family has been there since her elementary school days. She serves as Henderson Properties’ co-founder, along with her husband Phil, managing the day-to-day operations, social media branding and leadership development. She is proud of her athletic accomplishments in golf both at the collegiate level at Appalachian State and for a short stint on the LPGA Futures Tour. Her different life experiences, both positive and challenging, earned the title to her first book Starting From Scratch. Shelly has a servant’s heart and leads her company with purpose and passion. She is mom to two sons who continue as young adults to make her heart swell.