The Best Tool to Secure a Terrific Tenant

A lot of people look good on paper. Just ask anyone who has suffered through a blind date. Regardless if it was a set up by friends or a hookup, somebody was attracted to somebody because of what they saw. We’re not just talking looks, though. It could be a person’s education, job, charity work or hobbies. But when you meet them in real life, the facade cracks.

Landlords, too, can get hoodwinked by prospective tenants who look decent on paper, but when you look a little close, are terrible prospects. The thing is, though, you need good tenants to make money on your property investment. You need someone who is trustworthy and pays on time. You want someone who acts as a good citizen and respects the law. You want someone with a proven track record of respecting their residences. How on earth do you declare someone a good fit for your property if you can’t uncover this information?

You can. One of the most effective tools landlords have at their disposal is background checks. From credit checks to criminal background reports, Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) like Active Screening are skilled at researching, collecting and providing you the right information you need to make an educated tenant decision. When you work with a nationally-accredited screening agency like Active Screening you are getting a team of experts who understand and comply with the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968, Fair Housing Act Amendments Act of 1988 and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

 Here are some key pieces of advice to help you secure terrific tenants:

Start With a Thorough Application – This is, essentially, your first date with a prospective tenant. Think of it as what you’d like to know or see on a date’s online profile. You can create your own application but there are plenty of templates available on the internet if you do your research. Make sure to ask for current contact details, the names and addresses of current and previous landlords and employers, social security number, driver’s license number and bank account numbers for credit check. Here, says, are some suggested questions you should ask and information you should obtain from an application.

• Current and previous employers – How long has the tenant been at their current job? Has he or she switched jobs multiple times in the last few years?

• Current income level – Does the tenant’s income cover the rent plus normal living expenses?

• Financial information such as bank accounts and credit cards, including balances and minimum monthly payments, help to provide a financial “picture” for a prospective tenant and offer insights into his or her ability to pay the rent each month.

• Contact information for previous landlords should be listed with previous addresses, amounts of rent paid, and reasons for leaving. Are there any gaps in rental history, or are the names and contact inf0rmation for any landlords missing from the application?

• Lifestyle information such as number and size of pets and number of occupants should be included on the application.

• Personal references should include names, length of acquaintance, and phone numbers.

Request Permission to Run a Credit Check – A credit check will tell you about your prospective tenant’s credit history, including foreclosures, bankruptcies, evictions and other credit-related public record events. You may also want to double check a person’s credit score; the higher the score, the better.

Whenever you seek to obtain information on someone’s credit or background, you are bound to comply with the FCRA. For more information on rules and regulations you must follow, read this Active Screening post. The biggest thing you need to remember is to keep your consent forms separate from applications and avoid any other verbiage on them.

Run a Background Check – If you haven’t collaborated with a screening agency by this point, you’ll want to when it comes to running background checks. It’s the single best way to learn whether an applicant is a felon or on the sex offender list, for examples. When you hire Active Screening for your background checks, you can rest assured that our boots-on-the-ground researchers are checking county, state and national records to get you the most current and accurate information you need to make an informed decision. 

Check Their References – Don’t just take their word for it. Ask for, and for goodness sake, call their references! 

What other tips do you have for our readers? Share them below! And, if you have a tenant who needs screening, don’t hesitate to call one of our team members at 1-800-319-5580.

This entry was posted in Background Screening, Criminal Records, General, Identity & Credit, References & Credentialing, Tenant Screening and tagged , , , , , , , , by Patricia Carlson. Bookmark the permalink.

Patricia Carlson is a content writer who specializes in B2C and B2B inbound marketing. She blogs regularly for clients about the background screening and finance industries, and generates newsletters, white papers and email campaigns for a variety of businesses. Patricia also produces a heavy rotation of editorial material for home design, law enforcement, and family magazines. She’s been writing professionally for more than a dozen years, and for Active Screening for more than two of those. Check out LinkedIn for a roster of Patricia's clients and links to published works. When she’s not interviewing sources or researching trends, she’s living a fast-paced Florida life questioning the antics of her two young children, partner and mischievous cat. Patricia loves to talk tennis and TV on Twitter - give her a shout @pattycfreelance.
Active ScreeningBarbara S.
Healthcare Industry

"Here at Holland Hospital, we have been extremely pleased with Active Screening. The report results come back quickly, usually within 24 hours or less.  The staff at Active Screening is easy accessible, knowledgeable and responds to our questions promptly."

Active ScreeningLynn C. Staffing Industry

"Benton Mobley has been and remains my Main point of contact at Active Screening from the beginning; so aside from the comfort of dealing with the same person all these years, there is the most important fact of all;  customer satisfaction. Benton knows the business like the back of his hand; and that is what we need in our fast paced industry of staffing. He is the all-time BEST!  MY employer, Leslie, believes in the notion that great service deserves to be rewarded, so we are here for the duration.We get immediate and personalized attention for any and all concerns we need addressed, and in the staffing industry, this is vital."

Active ScreeningCayce R. Education Industry

"My experience working with Active Screening for our background check process has been very positive.  The reports are almost always completed in a very timely fashion. The information reported appears to be very thorough and accurate.  On the rare occasions that we have questions or problems, the customer service team is always very quick to respond and resolve the issue.  Overall, I am very pleased with the service I receive from Active Screening."

Active ScreeningCraig H. Staffing Industry

"Your customer service is excellent.  The turn around time on background checks is quite fast.  Excellent work.  I haven't had a single problem."

Active ScreeningJackie C. Education Industry

"I wanted to thank you and your staff for being so patient and working so diligently with the Human Resources staff during our recent endeavor to process all of our work study students through background screenings.  We have never had to process so many requests within such a short period of time before, but thanks to you and your staff we made it. Again thank you, we made a good choice in selecting Active Screening."

Active ScreeningLindsey W.  Financial Industry

"I wanted to share my appreciation for your wonderful service...switching background screening companies could have been a stressful task, but your company made the transition seamless. Your website was extremely easy to navigate and the turn around time has been great. I appreciate when information is missing or entered incorrectly during ordering, your company notifies me right away to ensure that my error does not hold the reports results, causing us a delay in hiring an individual...Active Screening has been great to us and I would definitely refer them to others."

Active ScreeningTerry S. Property Management

"Working with Active Screening over the last year and half has been a wonderful experience. They deliver fast and informative results at the best price. Their level of professionalism and the speed they respond to our issues is a benefit that any company can value from. I would highly recommend using Active Screening and their amazing team."

Active ScreeningYulesis D.  Staffing Industry

“Interactive Response Technologies (IRT) has more than 2,000 employees at multiple locations across the United States. IRT has been using Active Screening to conduct criminal background checks since 2006. During this time, Active Screening has consistently returned accurate reports, usually with less than 48 hours turnaround. If there are any problems or inconsistencies with the reports, their staff has called to notify us so that we can attempt to rectify the situation. The staff at Active Screening is always courteous and congenial over the phone. In our opinion, Active Screening is outstanding.”

Active ScreeningAndy N. Software Provider

 "Active Screening has helped us screen our applicants in record time for more than two years.... we are very impressed with the professionalism and speed with which their service team responds to our questions. They understand our needs and are a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend them."

Active ScreeningCassie J. Staffing Industry

"The Active Screening team is very informative; they provided a complete consultation on all the services, so I understood what I needed, and saved me hours and hours of my time learning the various services. Their reputation, as being on the cutting edge of employment screening best practices, certainly held true in this instance. The expertise they brought to the table was invaluable to our understanding of our applicants backgrounds. I highly recommend Active Screening to anyone with the task of screening large numbers of applicants and needing reliable customer support."

Active Screening

With over 20 years of law enforcement experience I can attest to the fact that the strongest predictor of future criminal behavior is a person’s criminal history. As the manager of campus safety at my church, I depend on Active Screening to provide a thorough assessment of every criminal history background check we request. For more than 3 years, Active Screening has been faithful to this task with timely, accurate and reliable service.

Active Screening

We have benefited from knowing that we are not exposing the communities we work with or ourselves to unnecessary risk. We continue to have a perfect record in that we have never had a serious incident with a trip participant causing harm or acting inappropriately with any community member or fellow team member- thank goodness!

Active Screening

I would highly recommend any association or organization who conducts background checks to use Active Screening. In addition to my involvement with WAHA, I am an officer in a corporation with over 500 employees who provide treatment, mental health, and correctional services for children and adolescents. Our company is mandated by law to do comprehensive background searches and I can say with the utmost sincerity that Active Screening product rivals that of any government or other private sector process.

Active Screening

We have used Active Screening and their solution VERITY to screen all our coaches and volunteers working with youth. The online system gives us an easy and cost-effective solution to collecting forms and payments from our applicants...and we simply login to view the results of who passed or failed. It's so easy....thank you Active Screening.