Whether you are considering becoming a landlord, or you have been one for many years, you are probably aware that there is one thing you’d really like to avoid — landlord-tenant disputes. While conflict is sometimes inevitable, there are a number of steps that you can take to ensure that you have a smooth relationship with your tenants.
At Rental Research Services, we offer the tenant background checks and reports that you need to make sure that you are getting the best tenants. Continue reading today’s post to learn our tips for avoiding disputes with your tenants, and contact us to learn how our rental background checks can benefit you.
1. Contact Previous Landlords
While it’s definitely wise not to believe everything you hear, there is still value in speaking with previous landlords to try to get an accurate picture of the person who is applying to be a tenant. If possible, you should speak with at least two or three of their previous landlords so that you can compare the information they share with you. The more information you can gather from different sources, the more you’ll be able to sort out what type of renter they have been and how they are likely to behave in your rental space.
Make sure that you ask the previous landlords whether this tenant was evicted or sued. While you should also ask this question during your tenant interviews, it is relatively easy for most people to lie, which is why you need to dig further after the interview. That being said, if you are unable to speak with previous landlords, it should be easy to find their eviction history and any court records with the personal information they are required to provide on an application for tenancy.
2. Verify Their Current Work and Income
Not only can documents be easily forged, but people can go to great lengths to deceive you when it comes to their employment and income status. In extreme cases, they may even go so far as to dress and smell the part. For example, if they wanted you to believe that they worked as a chef, then they could purchase a chef’s costume, put food stains on it, and arrive at the interview after “work.” By calling the place they claim to be employed at to verify their employment and income status, you can spare yourself the hassle of renting to someone who has no way of paying their monthly rent.
3. Use a Tenant Agreement Document
Sometimes landlords get themselves into trouble when they rent to someone using only a verbal agreement. While this tends to be more rare, it does still happen, which is why it’s important for you to understand the risks you take when doing this. Without a written document, you will have a much harder time winning your case in court should you need to prove that your tenant is not holding up their end of the agreement.
Whether your renter is someone you found through an application, a close friend, or a family member, make sure that you always require them to fill out a tenant agreement before completing the application process.
4. Document Everything as Completely as Possible
While paper or electronic documents provide protection and coverage for you as a landlord, it’s important to make sure that you have other forms of documentation such as photographs. Take pictures of each room of the rental prior to the move-in day so that you have photographic evidence of the conditions prior to the tenant living there. It’s important to take pictures from a number of angles and perspectives so that you can accurately document things such as ceilings, floors, windows, and other items. By providing both close-up photos and long-shots, you’ll have the data you need should a dispute arise.
5. Perform Resident Screening From the Start
Of course the best form of protection is prevention — perform checks before you rent. There are at least three areas that you want to make sure to cover when you are screening a potential tenant, including a background check, a credit check, and an eviction records check. Each of these reports will provide valuable information as to whether this individual is someone that you should rent to or not.
While you can purchase each of these checks on your own, wouldn’t it be easier to have someone else do all the work for you? Additionally, we have the resources you need to search a variety of programs and databases to provide the most comprehensive rental background check possible. Contact Rental Research Services today to get started finding the tenants you need.