Can You Determine the Character of Your Tenant?

By 21st May 2013Blog

The ultimate question you must ask is, Will this rental applicant be a good tenant? Will he or she be responsible, respectful, and amicable? Or will he or she cause nothing but problems? Perhaps when interviewing prospective candidates you tend to rely on first impressions; you are someone with very good people skills and are adept at discerning which applicants would make suitable tenants. You’ve met with a particular candidate who was very polite and courteous, and you even shared a good laugh, so you have a very good feeling about him or her. Perhaps relying on your intuition has worked for you many times in the past and you’ve become lax in thoroughly checking the rental application. You make a few cursory phone calls, and everything you hear reassures you, so you go ahead and sign the lease. And that’s when the troubles start—the rent is not being paid and there are complaints from the neighbors. It turns out that your new tenant is adept at lying and all that he projected of himself was false. What’s worse, as you eventually discover, is that all his documentation is false—he’s using a fake Social Security number and name, and his credit reports and references are bogus as well.

It is for this reason that you must make use of our Tenant Verification Services. The verification reports you receive fall into four categories: landlord, employment, education, and bank verification. An applicant should score well in each of these for you to consider him or her as a tenant. Now let’s take a closer look at each in turn.

  • A landlord verification report includes information such as lease start and end dates, payment history, monthly rent amount, property damages caused by the tenant, name of the property owner, relations with neighbors, relations between landlord and tenant, number of bedrooms, and number of children present in the property.
  • Employment verification indicates the applicant’s position, company, salary history, and current employment status. When available, it also provides a list of disciplinary actions taken (as, for example, a suspension), punctuality, and whether there were any employee–employee or employee–superior incidents (for example, sexual harassment complaints). It will also yield information concerning how often one has changed jobs. If this has been frequent, you might inquire as to the reasons for this, as this tenant might not be inclined to reside long in your rental unit. You may deem that not all of the information gathered is pertinent to renting a unit, nonetheless it is often helpful to have a complete picture of the applicant.
  • Education verification involves collecting the names of schools and colleges attended, start and end dates, grades, and degrees achieved. Factors to watch out for are long gaps in enrollment dates, the frequency of enrollments from school to school, the failure to attain a degree, and any suspensions or even expulsions from school. These are issues that you might want to explore further with the candidate.
  • Bank account reports indicate the name of the bank, account name, account number, and account type. If the candidate has not had a bank account for at least the last six months, you should inquire as to the particular circumstances.

Naturally you can never be 100 percent certain of anyone; no matter the amount of data collected, that’s not a guarantee that all will go smoothly. But your odds of finding a good tenant increase dramatically when you have done all the proper investigating of the rental applicant through our Tenant Verification Services. If any irregularities are uncovered, be certain to pay close attention to them, and try to follow-up with the tenant to see if there are reasonable explanations. By performing thorough background checks and by asking many questions, you will certainly get a better feel for the tenant’s character.