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A Landlord’s Guide to Running a Tenant Background Check

System - Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Property Management Blog

Running a background check on a prospective tenant may seem like a no-brainer. So, you may be surprised to learn that many Florida landlords actually skip right over this crucial step.

Failing to run a tenant background check can create a nightmare situation for landlords. In fact, the key to finding good tenants in Miami is to run as thorough a tenant credit and background check as possible.

Here's what you need to know about tenant background checks and what to include in them.

Benefits of a Tenant Credit and Background Check

Tenant screenings and background checks are the surest way to find the kind of respectful, responsible tenants who pay rent on time and treat your Miami, Florida rental property with the care it deserves.

Running a background and credit check will ensure you avoid allowing untrustworthy tenants into your property.

Here are some things to keep in mind. Let's say you rent to a tenant who has a violent criminal history. That tenant is putting your other tenants at risk and putting you at risk of a liability lawsuit if anyone gets hurt.

Another thing to consider is that without a background check you could risk renting your apartment to an identity thief. It is crucial that you verify the identity of the person who will be living on your property.

Running a background check may seem like it is a waste of time, but in reality, you will waste far more time dealing with the aftermath of renting to a tenant who could jeopardize your business.

What to Include in a Tenant Background Check

When deciding what to include in a background check, you as the landlord get to determine how thorough the check will be. You are not required to run any specific type of background check in Miami, Florida. 

Landlords typically run a tenant credit and background check concurrently. But, you can elect to go even deeper by adding a criminal background check, an eviction history check, and identity verification.

Tenant Criminal Background Check

Generally speaking, it is discrimination to refuse to rent to anyone with a criminal history. However, you can decide what types of criminal history would endanger your other tenants.

Take your time in considering the type of criminal offense that occurred, how severe the offense was, and how much time has passed since the crime occurred.

To ensure you aren't engaging in discriminatory housing practices, check out these guidelines for landlords. 

Tenant Credit Check

The best way to run a credit check on a prospective tenant is to use their credit report.

The prospective tenant's credit report won't show you their exact credit score, but it will show you the amount of any loans they have. It will also show you if they have any bankruptcies or accounts in collection.

Tenant Proof of Income and Employment Check

When it comes to accepting a tenant's rental application, a landlord is within their rights to verify their income and employment in order to ensure they will be able to pay the rent owed.

The most convenient way to verify a prospective tenant's income and employment are to request their most recent pay stubs. Alternatively, you can contact the tenant's employer directly.

You could also ask for a recent tax return. This is useful if the tenant is self-employed or a freelancer. 

Eviction History

Finally, check the prospective tenant's eviction history. This can be as easy as contacting their previous landlord or checking county records.

Everything You Need to Know About Tenant Background Checks

Failing to run a tenant background check leaves you as a landlord vulnerable to a significant amount of risk. If you're interested in finding good tenants for your rental property, it is best to run an in-depth background check.

If you really want to get the best quality tenants for your property, consider hiring a professional property manager. For quality property management services in Miami, contact Home River Group today.