5 Best Practices for Tenant Screening.

Tammy Cohen, PHR, SHRM-CP

November 15 2021

Every landlord or property owner wants tenants who pay rent on time and don’t make any waves. Rental background checks can help landlords protect their property and keep it in good condition while safeguarding themselves from liability.

You can use tenant verification services to screen prospective tenants for criminal records, eviction history, rental payment history, tenant credit check, current employment status, and more. Rental background checks allow landlords to make informed decisions about to whom they rent their property.

Rental background check services can also help them keep track of people living in the rental unit and provide proof of income for each tenant if necessary. With that in mind, the following are some essential tips to keep in mind when looking for your next tenant.

Tenant Verification of Employment and Income

Always verify employment with a phone call to the employer’s office. Then, verify income by requesting copies of pay stubs. You should do this even if the tenant has a verifiable source of income like social security or disability benefits.

If your prospective tenant cannot provide proof of employment, he may not have any means to repay you for rent due on time each month. Rental background checks and tenant credit checks can help you avoid this situation.

Finally, make sure that your prospective tenants know the consequences if they fail to pay rent or break any other terms in their lease. Make them sign a document that states these consequences – it may prevent future problems for you and help keep your property safe!

References from Past Landlords and Current Employers

References from past landlords and current employers can help you get a better idea of who your prospective tenant is and whether or not they will pay their rent on time. To ensure that you don’t violate any discrimination laws or other mandates, work with a PBSA-accredited background screening company that can compliantly check references and previous employment history on your behalf.

Criminal Background Checks

A criminal history is the backbone of every background check, and that is no different for a rental background check. It is better not to have renters living in the unit than having one that causes neighbors to leave or destroys the property. While it’s clear how the employment and income verification portions of a rental background check will protect you financially, a criminal history check does the same. It will uncover important criminal convictions related to violence, drugs, fraud, and property damage. Conduct at least a national criminal search and national sex offender search.

Rather than relying on a free background check service — which is likely to miss key details and potentially get you into trouble legally — work with a reputable background screening company to complete a criminal history for rental applications. A certified, experienced provider will not only ensure compliance, they’ll also simplify the entire process for you. When it comes time for tenant verification, take the extra step by choosing a service that provides full-service screening, complete with tenant credit checks, criminal record checks, eviction history searches, identity verification, reference and employment verifications, and more. Remember that consent is required to run a background check.

Establish Written Qualification Criteria

It is always best to establish written qualifications for your tenants. This way, you will know exactly what they need to meet before signing a tenant screening agreement and moving into the property. You can also use these criteria as part of an application process that needs to be completed for them to qualify.

Establishing written qualification guidelines is one of the best ways to avoid problems with your tenants. As the landlord or property manager, it is also a good way to stay within your legal boundaries if they choose not to meet these requirements and ask for an exception instead.

Be sure that all of the written qualification criteria are reasonable so that no one can accuse you of discrimination when it comes time for tenant screening. Avoid any qualifications that include gender, race, family status, or disabilities.

Protect Yourself with Tenant Verification

It is best to protect yourself with a rental background check when screening tenants for any type of property, whether you’re renting a couple of apartments or a massive multi-family complex. This reduces liability and provides a safe, comfortable living environment for the whole community.

Protect yourself with a tenant background check service today! Check out InfoMart’s complete suite of tenant screening services.

About Tammy Cohen

Tammy Cohen, an industry pioneer and expert in identity and employment screening, founded InfoMart 30 years ago. Deemed the “Queen of Screen,” she’s been a force behind industry-leading innovations. She was most recently the first-to-market with a fully compliant sanctions search, as well as a suite of identity services that modernizes talent onboarding. Tammy revolutionized the screening industry when she stepped into the field, developing the first client-facing application and a due diligence criminal search that has since become standard for all background screening companies. Cohen has received national awards and honors for her business and civic involvement, including Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 25 Women-Owned Firms in Atlanta, Enterprising Women Magazine’s Enterprising Women of the Year award, the YWCA of Northwest Georgia’s Kathryn Woods Racial Justice Award, and a commendation in the 152nd Congressional Record.

About InfoMart

InfoMart has been revolutionizing the global background and identity screening industry for 30 years, providing businesses the information they need to make informed hiring decisions. They develop innovative technology that modernizes talent onboarding, including a first-to-market biometric identity authentication application and a verified sanctions search. The WBENC-certified company is a founding member of the Professional Background Screening Association, and they have achieved PBSA accreditation in recognition of their consistent business practices and commitment to compliance with the FCRA. The company is dedicated to customer service, speed, and accuracy, and it has been recognized for its success, workplace culture, and corporate citizenship with over 45 industry awards. To Get the Whole Story on InfoMart, please visit, follow @InfoMartUSA, or call (770) 984-2727.

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