The Correct Method of Verifying Tenant Information

There is a right way and a wrong way to verify tenant information. Completing the process the wrong way can result in you renting to a tenant that may turn out to be a bad one.

To correctly verify tenant information you need to start by ensuring that the identifying information on a tenant’s application matches the information on their photo ID. Any information that does not match should be double checked to determine why it does not match. This can be the first sign of a dishonest tenant.

The second step in verifying tenant information is to pull the tenant’s credit report and analyze it. This will verify that the previous addresses the tenant has provided are correct and it will also allow you to determine if the tenant has ever been evicted from a property or is behind on paying their bills.

Verifying the landlords a potential tenant has rented from in the past is also part of the process. This involves contacting the tax assessor for the county you are renting out property in. You will then be able to obtain the names of a potential tenant’s previous landlord. When you contact each landlord, know in advance what questions you want to ask them and make sure to ask the same questions of each past landlord. Often times the landlord that a potential tenant currently has may not be the best source to verify information with as they may be angry that their tenant is interested in becoming your tenant instead.

These are the tools that you need to correctly verify a tenant’s information. The more thorough your method the more likely you will find the right tenant to rent to, as opposed to one who will cause you problems.

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Tenant Verification In Regards To Credit

A standard part of any rental application is fields to enter information such as the person’s name, address and social security number (or a taxpayer number if they don’t have a social security number.) These are the pieces of information you will need in order to verify the person’s credit. You will also want to include an authorization to check the person’s credit, which they will need to sign off on before you can legally do so.

If you will be charging the potential tenant a fee for checking their credit it is important that you inform them of this. The standard fee that is charged to check a possible tenant’s credit is between $30 and $50 depending on the state you live in. Some states have a maximum that you can legally charge for checking a potential tenant’s credit. You should always ensure that a possible tenant is qualified to rent your property before charging them for a credit check.

It is not always necessary to order a copy of a credit report if the potential tenant has their own copy that they can give you. Though you are not legally obligated to accept it, you can choose to do so if you wish. The only state that is an exception is Wisconsin, as state law dictates that you cannot charge a potential tenant to obtain their credit report if they offer it to you beforehand.

When you do obtain a copy of a potential tenant’s credit report, whether they give it to you or you get it on your own, there are certain things you will need to look for. One of them is how financially active the person is. Another is whether or not the person has ever been evicted from a rental property before. You can also find out if they have ever been arrested and if they have ever been involved in a lawsuit.

Checking on a potential tenant’s credit history is always an important part of tenant verification.

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Tenant Verification In Five Steps

There are five simple steps for performing tenant verification. As long as each step is completed it should never be difficult to find a desirable tenant to rent to.

The tenant verification process begins as soon as you are in contact with the person for the first time. Chances are the first time you contact a potential tenant it will be over the phone. When you do you will want to establish whether or not you want to continue the tenant verification process with them. This involves informing them about any requirements for renting your property so you can ensure they meet those requirements before moving forward.

Step two of the tenant verification process is to actually show the rental property to the prospective tenant. While doing so you can get a good look at them. You will want to take note of their appearance and of how neatly they are dressed. You will also want to pay attention to how they carry themselves and what their personality says about them. If they appear to be messy or uncooperative chances are they will not be a good tenant.

A potential tenant’s reaction to the property you are showing them can also help you determine if you want to rent to them. Most people will ask questions about the property but if they seem overly critical they may be looking for things that are wrong with the property in the hopes they can use that to negotiate a lower rent with you. An enthusiastic tenant will want to sign a lease as soon as possible. The less they resist the better tenant they will likely make.

Step three is to have them submit a proper application for the rental property. Let them know that you will make a decision and get back to them. If you decide to approve them as a tenant, step four in the tenant verification process is to inform them of the time, date and location where they will be signing the lease with you. Step five, the final step in the tenant verification process is to go over the lease with them before they actually sign it in front of you. The process has now been completed in five easy steps and you are free and clear to schedule a move in date for your new tenant to prepare for properly.

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How To Properly Handle The Tenant Verification Process

A new landlord can always benefit from a guide to the process of tenant verification. This process involves several steps that need to be taken in order to ensure that it runs smoothly. Failure to complete even one of the steps can spell disaster later on.

When handling tenant verification the first thing to do is have a background check performed on the tenant in question. The other steps are unnecessary if the background check turns up something that would cause you to deny a potential tenant a lease. That is why it is important that this is always the first step in the process.

Provided a potential tenant passes the background check the next step in the tenant verification process is a credit check. You can either accomplish this through checking references on your own or having a private agency perform this step.

Once a tenant has passed the credit check the next step is to file a verification form with your local police department. This will allow you to find out whether or not they have a criminal record.

The last step in the process is to get references from a potential tenant’s previous landlord. This will give you a good idea of what the experience of renting to them is like.

In the event that you cannot find a tenant to fill a rental property for you, there is the option of turning to a local real estate agent to find you one. A real estate agent will also be able to help you determine the amount of money you can rent your property out for. The amount is determined by taking into consideration the location of the property as well as the physical condition of it and its size.

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An Overview of National Tenant Laws

When you work as a landlord you need to have an understanding of the national tenant laws. These laws govern what you can and cannot do in terms of performing tenant verification. This includes the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Housing Accessibility Act, Fair Housing Laws and the Americans with Disability Act. Be aware that if your tenant verification process goes against any of these acts the tenant in question has the ability to contact the National Consumer Law Center, which fights for the rights of low income individuals to be able to rent housing.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act states that, as a landlord performing tenant verification, you have access to a potential tenant’s credit information and history. The Fair Housing Accessibility Act was created to protect tenants from being discriminated against based on categories such as skin color and race, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, disability status and familial status. Fair Housing Laws are governed by the Accessibility Act. Since 1990 the Americans with Disability Act has stated that landlords cannot discriminate against potential tenants over a diagnosed mental or physical disability.

Following all of these laws is the best way to ensure success as a landlord.

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Using Tenant Verification Services

You may be wondering if it is worth it to use a tenant verification service or not. There are pros and cons to using this type of service and only you can decide what is right for your individual circumstances.

One of the pros of using this type of service for your tenant verification is that it is a simple process. The verification process can be extremely time consuming and can take you away from other tasks you need to address as a landlord. Allowing a company to provide the service for you will help you rent out your properties quickly and more efficiently than if you did all the work yourself. One of the best aspects of using this type of service is that you will generally get a quick response. Where it may take you days to perform a background check on a tenant, using a verification service will often get you results in only a few hours.

We all make mistakes and it can be easy to make one during the tenant verification process and not even realize it until it is too late. By using a paid service you will avoid this because a software program will be doing the work that you may have done too quickly or not efficiently enough. There is very little room for error when you use a tenant verification service.

However, for all the positives of using this type of service there are negatives too. These include the cost of the services, which may or may not be worth it to you. The income you make from your rentals will take a hit if you use a verification service, so you have to decide whether or not you are willing to accept the loss just to rent your property out. Another downside to using these services is that because the process if performed by computer software it is possible you could end up rejecting a tenant you would have otherwise accepted. This means that even if you do use a tenant verification service you will want to do your homework on each tenant before deciding whether or not to rent to them.

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The Tenant Verification Process In 2015

Now that 2015 is here it is important to ensure that the process you follow for tenant verification is the correct one. You have to protect yourself and your interests when it comes to renting a property to a tenant.

Working as a successful landlord requires you to complete certain steps as part of the tenant verification process. The first thing you need is a plan that is clear and consistent. Having a written record of your plan protects your interests as a landlord as well as your tenant’s interest. You will need to follow this plan step by step every time you rent to a new tenant.

Prepare and laminate a list of the pieces of information you will require from each tenant you rent to. It is important that the same pieces of information are acquired consistently otherwise you could be accused of favoritism or discrimination.

While you’re at it don’t forget that you always have to comply with the law when performing tenant verification. The 1968 Civil Rights Act states that you cannot discriminate against tenants based on race, religion, sexual orientation or origin. It is important to ensure that the questions you ask your tenants as part of the screening process have nothing to do with those criteria. In addition you will want to be familiar with the laws in your individual state regarding tenant verification.

Your tenant verification plan needs to cover all grounds. This should include an investigation into whether or not they have a history of committing crimes. It should also include a credit check which will tell you how likely the tenant is to be able to pay their rent on time as well as whether or not they have ever perpetuated or been the victim of identity theft.

In the event that the result of tenant verification is that you refuse to rent to them you must provide them with a valid reason why you won’t. This needs to be done in the form of an official letter on professional looking stationary. You are required to give the rejected tenant the contact information of the company you used for their background check. The reason for this is that the individual will then have the right to dispute the information the company gave you that led you to deny their rental application.

This is the tenant verification process that should be followed for 2015 and beyond.

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