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How to Stay Legally and Physically Safe as a Landlord

Effective tenant screening is a landlord’s duty to both the law and to his or her tenants residing in the property. It’s makes complete sense why a tenant credit check and background check should be performed on incoming tenants. Verifying an applicant’s identity as well as understanding their financial situation is vital for every landlord for purposes beyond physical safety.

It should be noted that an increasing number of cities are passing ordinances that require landlords to check a tenant’s criminal history. If the courts were to find that the landlord failed to meet this criterion, he or she could be liable for injuries and will be deemed negligent.

Be Responsible

Effectively screening a tenant directly correlates to receiving accurate information. As a landlord, you’re responsible for not only verifying the applicant’s identity, but to trust the information that you’re receiving so as not to perpetuate identity theft. Start by browsing the Internet. There are a variety of credible background checks online that will provide all the necessary information that you’ll need.

Request the applicant’s full name, birth date, and social security number so you can match him or her to the credit report. Request a photo ID from them to check the picture for a match. If your local law allows it, take a copy of the ID to preserve the information for future identification purposes.

Draft a Thorough Rental Application and Agreement

Upon gaining the required information from your landlord credit check, you’re going to need to draft a written rental application to avoid problems. This is one of the most important legal documents of the entire process so be sure that your application pinpoints every legal detail as well as provides you with enough of the applicant’s personal information to fully identify him or her. Court cases will also refer to this document if worse comes to worse. Each application should be fully completed along with a separate application for each adult occupant that you want to run a tenant credit check on.

Keep an Eye Out for High Risk Tenants

The rental application must be filled out completely by each of the applicants. Without this information, there is no way to crosscheck the data to that of the tenant screening report, making it significantly tougher for you to catch a high risk tenant. Be sure to browse over the application thoroughly to ensure that each section has been filled out in-depth. Note that the higher risk tenants will purposely leave areas blank and withhold certain information on the rental agreement for a reason.
Tenant Screening Service, LLC performs various forms of application screening and is trusted by thousands of landlords of business owners.