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How to Find the Best Tenant Screening Service

Feb 02, 2023
Tenant Screening Image by Freepik

(Image by Freepik)

Having tenants that pay on time and take care of your rental is a top priority of every landlord, making tenant screening an important aspect of your real estate operations. If you want to determine good vs. bad tenants and avoid potential lawsuits due to incorrect information, you must first learn how to differentiate a trustworthy tenant screening service from a reckless one.

In this article, we’ll discuss how you can ensure a tenant screening company can be trusted for your operations.

How to Interview a Tenant Screening Agency

Here are some questions to ask before hiring a tenant screening company to ensure they can provide you with high protection.

1. What systems do they use to protect against rental scams? Have they ever been duped by one?

Scams are becoming more and more common. Local scammers will copy your ad, break into your home, and show the unit so they can collect a “security deposit” and run. Make sure the property management company you use is aware of these issues and has come up with solutions for them.

2. What methods do you use to screen tenants?

When it comes to tenant screening, more comprehensive methods are preferred. These methods include:

  • Contacting former landlords
  • Verify income and employment
  • Run a credit report
  • Verify application information for authenticity
  • Contact personal references
  • Run a public notice search 

3. Which tenant qualifications are most important to them? Will they consider a tenant who meets their qualification in some areas but not others?

The less someone has to lose in life, the less you can expect from them. Bring in people who are serious about their job or schooling. The eviction rate and tenant turnover rate of property managers are good indicators of how well they screen tenants.

(Image by Freepik)

4. Do they provide you with tenant information so you can approve or deny each tenant?

It’s the property manager's responsibility to perform tenant screening, not yours. This is what you are paying them for, and that’s what they should be experts at.

Don’t hire a property management company or tenant screening agency if you cannot put your full trust in them. When owners get involved in the screening process, the possibility of discrimination goes up significantly. Fair housing violations lead to lawsuits that can cost thousands. This is a significant liability both for you and the management company.

5. Will they “hold” a property for a tenant and take it off the market before a lease is signed? If so, do they charge a fee?

There should be a fee just in case things fall through and the tenant does not sign the lease.

6. Other questions to ask:

  • What do they charge tenants for the application fee?
  • Do they require the application fee to be paid in certified funds?
  • Do they require each adult that will be renting to complete their own application?

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