Rental Background Check
Are you a landlord in Grand Rapids Michigan looking to do a rental background check on a prospective resident? Compass Property Management would like to help you with some basic tips to guide you in choosing a great tenant for your rental property.
Verify rental history
When doing a Rental Background Check you should verify the prospective tenant’s rental history. Compass Property Management recommends that all landlords set up a detailed screening policy and adhere to it. In your policy you should define what you consider to be adequate rental history. If an applicant does not have any successful rental history, you may accept a cosigner to guarantee the financial obligations of the lease. The applicant’s housing references must be verifiable; family members and friends should not be considered acceptable references. At Compass we consider unsuccessful rental history to include issues such as evictions, disturbances, unauthorized pets, pattern of late payments, damage to the residence or money owed to past landlord.
Check with previous landlords for money owed, damages, late fees and lease violations
Part of a through rental background check is making sure your prospective tenant has a good rental history. We are now looking beyond simply how long is the history and asking what does it look like. Your screening policy should speak to issues such as money owed to a previous landlord, damages, late fees and lease violations. At Compass we require all applicants to have ZERO dollars owed to past landlords. We work with past landlords to get the best picture of who is applying for our rentals. Did they leave a past residence dirty and damaged? What was their payment history like? Did they have any lease violations such as noise complaints?
If it is a private landlord – verify the owner
Unfortunately some prospective renters attempt to cover up a poor rental history by attempting to use a friend or family member to pose as a previous landlord. To complete a successful rental background check you must do your best to verify the person you are talking to is actually a previous landlord. There are a few tips to help such as making sure the name of the person you are talking to matches the online records of who owns the property. Ask the previous landlord questions that you already know the answer to – how long did the resident live in their rental? What was the rent? Most landlords should be able to answer these simple questions on the spot.
Try to get the ledger
Professional property managers maintain detailed tenant ledgers for all residents. Reading over a prospective resident’s ledger can tell you a lot. You can verify their rent amount, payment history, late fees, court costs, violation fees, and damages charged back to the tenant. Unfortunately, getting a ledger can be more difficult (or impossible) when attempting to do a rental background check on an tenant coming from a privately owned and managed rental.
Professional Leasing and Property Management Services
It is our experience that the rental background check is the area where most private landlords feel the least confident in their own skills. Properly vetting applicants is the foundation of a profitable lease. Poor screening upfront often leads to damages in excess of security deposit, lost rent and even eviction costs. At Compass Property Management we offer multiple levels of service, each brings with it our years of experience in completing a rental background check. Are you simply looking for help filling a vacancy? Then our Placement Services are for you. Are you looking for a break from day-to-day toils of being a landlord? Then our Personalized Management Service is right up your alley.
If you decide you want to keep doing the showings and running your own applications, that’s great. The Rental Property Owners Association is a great resource for private landlords looking for training and advice.