Avoid fraudulent applications, do not accept credit reports supplied to you by prospective tenants or employees. Have each and every adult applicant neatly fill out a complete and professional Rental Application.
(Please feel free to download the complementary rental and employment applications we have provided for this purpose on the free applications page of this site).
Review the application upon submission, make sure the information is complete and legible. It is mandatory to have the full name, social security number, and the complete current or previous address including the zip code of the prospective renter/employee/applicant in order to run an credit report. Additionally, a drivers license number and date of birth are needed for criminal record and DMV reports and previous addresses are beneficial for eviction reports.
Ask for a photo I.D., and compare it to the submitted application. Collect any documentation that supports additional income. Compare addresses and information on the credit report to those on the application.
Verify current employment information, and previous residence information by written documentation only. Ask for a bank statement. (There is no confidential information on a bank statement that doesn’t appear on a check besides banking transactions.) Avoid verifying applicant information by phone, especially those references provided by the applicant. Request all collaborating documentation in writing.
Do not take a rental deposit from any applicant before checking out their references. It is not uncommon for the most likable and communicative applicant to have a terrible payment history and horrible credit habits. Use caution, especially from applicants who wish placement quickly without documentation, a verbal agreement, or want to give you a large amount of cash upfront in lieu of a background check.
Landlords should ask to see the last 4- 6 months of rental receipts from the current address. They should be checks that are stamped on the back, on time and one lump sum. Any respectable tenant will be able to provide this documentation. If the credit or reference information does not meet your criteria, order an eviction report or a criminal records report.
More landlords today are commonly ordering criminal record reports on their potential tenants, and results suggest that landlords will soon request criminal record reports as standard information when screening prospective rental applicants in the near future.
Remember, it is legal to charge each applicant a reasonable tenant screening fee so you may recuperate your expenses incurred in verifying their references when considering them. (Landlords in California for example, regularly charge between $25.00 and $50.00 per applicant for credit reports alone.)
Don’t feel pressured into making an instant decision no matter how good your applicants first impression has been, if needed Citi Credit will promptly check your prospective tenants references professionally in less than 24 hours. Tenant Reference Verification includes a credit report, an eviction report, a County and Federal criminal records report, and a complete background check with the critical documentation you need to make a definitive decision on your prospective tenant(s). Empoyment Background Checks include a credit report, a County and Federal criminal records check and comprehensive reference verification including past employment history
Finally, familiarize yourself with the requirements and laws of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Remember the old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Good luck with your applicants