What is shared here can be applied both to tenant screening as well as employment screening. Use this information as a guide, but you will also need to contact your local and state administrative authorities regarding specific laws that will impact how you may screen.
In many cases, it is easy to decline tenancy to a prospective tenant simply by looking at face value circumstances. If the would-be renter cannot produce the required deposits or they have very little verifiable income, it is not necessary to do a background check for it is obvious that they simply cannot afford what they wish to rent. But tenant screening becomes a bit more laborious when a credit report is pulled. Oftentimes, the information contained is very telling if the prospective tenant would be a good placement or not.
As the property owner, you have the right to set your own criteria based on what the credit report might say, but you must be careful to apply the same standard to every applicant. It is possible that you might be uncomfortable around some ethnic types. You may not discriminate against such individuals for it is against the law. However, if such applicants fail to meet the standard that you are universally applying based on the credit report, it can be a valid rejection of the applicant.
What if you have deposit in hand and the tenant is financially stable and has good references from his employer and other businesses or individuals, but something is said during the initial interview that sends off alarm bells in your mind? Oftentimes, a tool such as a background check company can come in handy to do some digging into past history. You don’t want this handsome-looking couple occupying one of your apartments only to find out they may be using aliases for the purpose of doing something nefarious, perhaps to operate an illegal drug distribution network.
Do an internet search and hundreds of these companies are available. To simply narrow the search, contact another property owner and see what background company they use and prefer.
It is more likely that you will simply need to screen for your average “bad actor” rather than an outright rejection of the Colombian drug cartels. In today’s technological climate, you have tools that did not exist even ten years ago. People today dump a lot of personal information about themselves and who their friends are on social media outlets like Facebook.
Information you couldn’t even buy is so readily available because so many consumers, clients and employees share their personal lives on the internet for public consumption. You may find that even if the applicant is a bit suspicious, they are actually connected to friends you know, which will give you more information to make a solid decision.
The rule of thumb, whether you are hiring or renting, is to be completely fair in the way you process each applicant. The standard cannot waver based on personal feelings. State and federal laws set a hard line that cannot be crossed as well. Use a background check company if you have suspicions or you just feel that you don’t have enough information. You can also use what is so freely given by applicants on their social media outlets.
Be fair and use one standard that conforms to state and federal laws and you should be safe in the decisions you make.