It happens to every landlord: the unexpected vacancy. All of the sudden, your tenants are gone and you’re looking at at least a month of lost income. When this happens, landlords panic and rush to find new tenants. In this panicked stage, they often skip vital steps in the screening process and focus more on finding any tenant rather than finding the right tenant. Don’t be this kind of landlord. Don’t skip screenings or overlook rental history in an attempt to fill a vacancy. Taking the time to look into the rental history of your tenants will save you time, money, and headache in the long run.
What’s included in a rental history?
Looking into a potential renter’s rental history will give you a look into how they are as renters. This report will tell you where they’ve lived, how long they lived there, and if they’ve ever been evicted. You’ll also be able to see if they have a history of paying their rent on time and their criminal record. You can also see a tenant’s credit score. The best indicator of future behavior is past behavior, and this report will help you decide whether their rental behavior in the past is something you want to entertain in the present.
What is considered a clean rental history?
A tenant has a clean rental history if they meet a certain set of criteria. Things to look for include:
They have a decent credit score without any blemishes
Paying their rent on time
They haven’t been evicted
Not having a criminal record
They don’t jump from rental to rental
If a rental history report comes back with these results, chances are you’re working with a trustworthy renter. A clean rental history is one piece of a tenant puzzle. This, along with checking references and running background checks will give you all of the information you need to either move forward with a rental application or not.
It’s important to remember that tenants are only human, and sometimes people go through rough patches. Take the time to get details about any concerning things you find in a rental report. Evictions are never fun. Handling evictions during a pandemic is daunting.
Why is a clean rental history important?
A clean rental history tells you a lot about how a tenant treats their neighbors, the property, and the landlord. You want to rent to people who have a long history of paying their rent on time because it increases the chance that they’ll pay you on time. You want to rent to people who haven’t been evicted because this means they tend to treat a property with respect and aren’t a nuisance to their neighbors. No evictions also means they follow rules and respect their landlords. These are all things that make a good renter, and signs of someone you should feel confident renting to. Of course, a clean rental history is not a guarantee that they’ll be perfect renters, but it can give a sense of security knowing they have a history of being respectful and responsible.
How To Check Rental History
A quick google search will bring up dozens of websites that can help you pull up a rental history report. Some give you basic information for free, while others charge a fee to access more detailed information. Other ways you can get the information that you need about a potential renter include:
Calling previous landlords. You have the right to do this and it can give you valuable information about your renter. You’re not doing this to be sneaky or nosey, you’re doing it to protect your investment and your reputation.
Run a criminal background check
Run a credit check
Using a landlord’s pandemic safety checklist
These things, along with a rental history report, will help you make an informed decision about whether or not you want to rent to potential renters.
If tenant screening background checks, and calling landlords seems like a lot to do, you’re right. But it’s necessary to ensure you have a steady stream of income and your investment property is taken care of. If you don’t have the time or resources to follow through with a detailed tenant screening, you should hire a professional property management company to help you. Contact Overland Management today to learn more about how we can help you manage your investment properties more effectively.