Tenant background checks serve as the landlord's consent from the tenant to run a background check on the applicant. Upon receiving the authorization, the landlord is free to check the tenant's credit and/or criminal history. In exchange for these services, landlords usually charge a fee, which generally ranges from $18 to $75.
Background checks are usually recommended to allay the fears usually associated with renting out property to strangers/prospective tenants. It is in the best interest of the landlord/property owner to conduct this search and settle every misgiving they would have harbored towards letting out their apartments to strangers.
Rent Application - Use this template if you are a landlord who is renting out housing. In this form, tenants can enter their personal information before a background and credit check is conducted. It contains data about the property and spaces for tenants to fill out about themselves.
Tenants will need to complete and sign a Tenant Background Authorization Form with their information. If an application fee is required, the tenant needs to pay it upon submission. In this form, the landlord is given the details he needs and the legal authority to do a check on the tenant.
Online tenant background checks are available from two (2) providers:
MySmartMove.com - A TransUnion affiliate that provides credit and eviction reports (for $35). The application fee should always be charged to the applicant without the landlord having to pay for the check.
With RentPrep, you can perform a limited background check for $18.95. This service is not as robust as the first one above but it can meet short-term needs where an extensive or comprehensive check is not required.
Having the landlord examine the tenant's background may allow him or her to decide if the tenant is suitable for the property. Whenever a landlord chooses to rent out a property, a written lease agreement detailing the agreed-upon terms is required.
Landlords are advised not to write off prospective tenants simply because they have had issues with the law in the past. Though this could be an indicator of possible challenges in the future if accepted as a tenant, a fair assessment should be carried out.
They can give the tenant a rejection letter stating the reasons for the denial if the credit report pulled was not satisfactory. For example, an applicant with recurrent charges with law enforcement agencies should raise a trigger.
Be sure to carry out an extensive review also on their finances as a tenant without a steady source of income can pose a challenge when it comes to rent renewals.
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