44% of Saratoga Springs residents are renters.
For landlords, that gives you a healthy pool of potential tenants to choose from, but with opportunity comes risk. If you don't properly screen your applicants, you could end up with delinquent tenants who make your life more difficult.
One of the foolproof screening tactics is to subject all of your applicants to a tenant background check. Doing this early in the process will help you whittle down your pool to the best. Keep reading, and we'll explain what these background checks involve and how they'll help you.
Why Perform a Tenant Background Check?
You'd want to perform a tenant background check on your applicants for countless reasons. Ultimately, you always want to fill your rental units with responsible adults who won't cause trouble and always pay rent on time.
An applicant may seem perfect on paper, but you won't know for sure unless you do your due diligence. A tenant background check will look at a person's criminal background, financial background, and rental history. Once you know this, you can accept the best tenant with confidence.
Identity Verification & Criminal Records
The first step in a tenant background check is to confirm that a person is who they claim to be. This may seem like overkill, but in 2020 alone, almost $2 billion was lost in housing and rental scams in the US.
It's also important to check an applicant's criminal record. You'll need to operate under New York's fair housing laws, which are in place to protect renters from being discriminated against. That said, if an applicant has a concerning criminal record, it's within your rights to screen them out.
Credit Score & Income Verification
Determining a potential tenant's credit score is important to gain an understanding of their financial stability over a longer period. Every landlord wants tenants who can reliably pay rent each month. If someone has bad credit, it doesn't necessarily mean they can't afford your apartment, but it signals financial trouble at some point in their past.
Asking for income verification may feel intrusive, but it's an important thing to pair with a credit check. Someone's credit score might be low, but they may have a stable and sufficient income. On the contrary, they could have great credit but not much financial stability currently.
The last and most important thing to do is talk to an applicant's previous landlord. Checking references gives you the chance to ask more specific questions that you may have about a tenant. If the tenant was disruptive or caused damage to their previous rental, you can be sure that their previous landlord will let you know.
Screening Tenants Works
As you can see, a tenant background check can go a long way in securing you great tenants. Poor tenant screening methods will leave you in the dark until it's too late. If you're not comfortable or don't have time to screen your applicants, it's time to hire a property manager.
Veno Properties is here to help landlords in Saratoga Springs and across the Capital Region with their property needs. Whether it's tenant screening or general maintenance, contact us today to learn how we can help you maximize your investment.