As a landlord or property manager, you know that rental verification is an important part of the screening process for potential tenants.
In this post, we’ll review what a rental verification is, why it’s important to do, and how to run this report.
- Rental verification is the process of verifying that a potential tenant has actually lived at the addresses they have provided on their rental application.
- A rental history report can give you valuable insights into an applicant’s rental history.
- Rental verification can help you make more informed decisions about selecting a reliable tenant.
What is rental verification?
Rental verification is the process of verifying that a potential tenant has actually lived at the addresses they have provided on their rental application. Think of it as a background check for rental history.
This can be done by contacting the current and previous landlords and asking them about the applicant’s rental history.
There are several steps for a landlord to follow in rental verification:
- Contact the previous landlords listed on the applicant’s rental history.
- Ask questions about the applicant’s rental history, including length of tenancy, rental payments, and whether there were any complaints or problems.
- Request a reference from the applicant’s current landlord.
- Verify that the information provided by the applicant matches the information provided by the references.
- Decide whether to rent to the applicant based on the information gathered during the rental verification process.
Why verifying a tenant’s rental history is important
There are many benefits of verifying a prospective tenant’s rental history.
Benefits of rental verification
Rental verification can help you to:
- Make more informed decisions about who to rent to
- Avoid renting to applicants with a history of damaging property or not paying rent on time
- Ensure that your property is protected
- Rent to reliable tenants
Risks of not verifying renters
If you don’t verify your potential tenants, you could:
- Rent to someone with a history of damaging property
- End up with a tenant who doesn’t have the income to afford the rent
- Rent to someone with a history of being disruptive (noise complaints, issues with cleanliness, etc.)
By verifying a prospective tenant’s rental history, you can protect yourself and your investment from potential problems.
How to check a prospective tenant’s rental history
Getting the right tenant is important, and there are 2 main ways to do so:
1. Use an online tenant screening service
Request a rental history report from a screening company. This report will provide you with information on the applicant’s rental history, including any eviction records or negative rental references.
There are a number of online tenant screening services that can provide you with rental history reports. Here are a few of the most popular:
- First Advantage
2. Contact previous landlords directly
This can be done by phone or in person, and it can give you a more detailed picture of the applicant’s rental history.
When you’re speaking with a landlord, be sure to ask important questions about:
- How long the applicant rented from the landlord
- If the applicant ever caused damage to the property
- If the applicant was ever late in paying rent
- How well the applicant maintained the property
- If the applicant ever had issues with other tenants
- If the landlord would rent to the applicant again
You’ll get a better sense of what it’s like to work with the applicant and whether or not they would be the right fit for your property.
Regardless of how you choose to verify a prospective tenant’s rental history, it is essential to do your due diligence to make the best possible decision for your property.
What if a tenant doesn’t have a rental history?
There are a few reasons a prospective tenant may not have a rental history. For example, they may be new to the area or a student who has always lived with their parents, or they may have been living in a hotel or other temporary accommodation.
If a tenant doesn’t have a rental history:
- Ask for references from employers or personal references for insight into the tenant’s character and background.
- Run a credit check to learn whether the tenant has any debt or financial problems that could affect their ability to pay rent on time.
- Require a larger security deposit if permissible in your location. This can protect you if there are any problems with the tenant during their stay.
Overall, background verification is still an important part of the screening process for potential tenants, even without a formal rental history.
How to collect rent once a lease has been signed
Once you’ve decided who to rent to and have a signed lease, the next step is to decide how to collect the rent.
Stessa’s online rent collection feature is an excellent option to consider for automating rent collection. You can make it easy for tenants to pay on time, and automate key tasks like deposits, receipts, and accounting for yourself. It’s a win-win, and it’s free for both landlords and tenants.