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Tenant Rental History Checking

Brooklyn Property Management Blog of ProRealty

tenant rental history

What is a Tenant Rental History Report?

A tenant rental history report is a piece of information about your previous rental housing. It’s a list of past addresses that your potential tenant rented, former landlords or property managers’ contact information, dates that they lived, rent amounts, missed payment information, damages to property, and evictions. The common practice is to have a tenant’s rental history checked on the last three years of reference.

Most background checks already have this rental information, but it’s still best to have a complete list that includes contacts from the potential tenants if there are any database errors. Moreover, it would be best if they gave this information and their consent to contact their past landlords.

One of the critical factors to becoming a successful landlord is tenant screening. There are several ways to go about tenant screening.  

Running background and credit checks will also give you an insight into the potential tenant and rental history.  In this article, let’s talk about checking rental history reports and why it’s crucial. 

Importance of Tenant Screening

Tenant screening is a critical part of the rental process. Many landlords believe that the most challenging part of being a landlord is searching for people to apply to reside in their rental property.  It’s more than what they think because choosing the right tenant will likely more troublesome than finding one. 

You will be able to uncover several things in screening tenants carefully, including:

  • Credit history
  • Background check
  • Rental history
  • Expected income
  • Expected lease terms

All the above-mentioned information will give you an idea of what the potential tenant is like. The whole tenant screening process will help you uncover if they would become good renters even if they don’t have a perfect credit score.

One thing that the landlords miss out on after running a credit report is verifying the rental history. It’s common for Brooklyn rental applications to ask for details about their previous renting experiences. Many landlords don’t verify that information.

Without this verification, there’s a chance of accepting untruthful tenants. 

If Tenants Don’t Have Rental History?

First-time renters are more challenging to verify because of their lack of rental history. In this case, landlords will choose to look upon:

  • Proof of employment- Does the potential tenant have a stable income? Verify their work by contacting their employer.
  • Income tax returns or pay stubs- You may ask the potential tenant for proof of income with pay stubs or income tax returns. 
  • First impression- You should watch to see if they are polite and respectful. Did they show up on time for their show? First impressions aren’t enough, but the first time you meet a potential tenant will give you a good idea of how they will treat you, your neighbors, and your rental property.

If the potential tenant doesn’t have a rental history, it doesn’t mean they are not a good tenant. In that case, if the tenant doesn’t have a history, it’s a crucial decision on how reliable they will be.

 

How to Verify Tenants Rental History?

Understand your expectations for a tenant

Before listing your Brooklyn rental property and starting to receive rental applications, make sure that you know what your ideal tenant background would be by asking the following question to yourself:

  • May you consider a tenant with a criminal record??
  • Do you like to accept a tenant who has had a late rent payment in the past?
  • Are you willing to rent to a tenant who has repeatedly skipped out on their lease payments?
  • Do you prefer a tenant who can’t provide a reference?

Those questions will help you create an insight into your ideal tenant and guide you in reviewing applications. Constantly reminded that your expectation should be realistic and follows federal or state laws.

Inform the applicant that rental history report is required

It would be best if you garnered the applicant’s previous rental information, including:

  • Addresses of previous rental locations
  • Contact information of previous landlords

It would help if you informed the potential tenant that the application process requires them to provide three previous rental addresses and contact information of their respective landlords.

Have the potential tenant sign a rental history release agreement

There should be a tenant information release form attached to your rental application. And the purpose of this document is for the authorization of potential tenants to review their past rental history. 

It will be helpful to include this in the initial rental listing. In that way, you can begin to sort out applicants who don’t want to provide that information.

Use pre-screening questions for the rental history report

A rental verification process will start if you speak first with the potential tenant via phone or email. It’s ideal if you check the state laws and Fair Housing Laws before you begin to ask questions so that you will be aware of the questions you can o cannot ask the potential tenant.

Generally, the following information should be included:

  • How long is the potential tenant residing at their current address?
  • Reason for moving.
  • Are they willing to submit a rental application and allow a background check?
  • Are they willing to provide references from previous landlords and employers?

It will help to ask several questions during the call and take note of the answers. Afterward, you can check the verbal answers versus the details included in the rental application and the information from the previous landlords.

Check for Gaps

You should check first any gaps between the dates in rental properties. If you find any gaps, you should ask the tenant to ensure that they give you contact information for the most recent rental properties. 

Check references

If the potential tenant permits you to check their rental history, it’s a tedious task because you will have to make many phone calls for information verification. It’s tempting to skip this part, but don’t give in. Because doing this step will make a big difference between renting an excellent tenant to a terrible one.

The purpose of calling previous landlords is to verify the tenant’s information to know if it is accurate or not. It’s a good time to ask how the tenant treated the property and if there were any violations. Ask questions to understand the tenant.

You can ask the following questions:

  • Can you confirm that the applicant rented from you?
  • Did the applicant pay their rent on time?
  • Did the applicant fairly take care of the rental property?
  • Is the unit clean and in good order when the applicant left?
  • Was the applicant disruptive to other tenants or neighbors?
  • Would you rent the applicant again?
  • Was the applicant a good communicator?
  • Does the applicant keep utilities on and paid in full at all times?
  • Did anyone else live with the applicant?
  • Does the applicant give proper notice before vacating?
  • Is the applicant receive their entire deposit back after leaving?

Before making the call to the landlords, you should have an internet search for the confirmation of the contact information that the potential tenant gave. However, there are times that a tenant will provide a friend’s contact information and act like the previous landlord.

You will invest time in checking the tenant’s rent references. However, spend time evaluating potential tenants that will suit your rental property.

Verify information with the tenant

If there’s a difference between the tenant statement during the screening call or application compared to the rent references, it’s better to check with the tenant about the differences. Some would be simple mistakes or intended inaccuracies of the other party. 

It’s not that simple to know who to believe in those situations. Your judgment will be the only thing that you can rely on. However, asking some questions will clear up any mistakes. Calling at least three previous landlords will tell you who is telling the truth.

Final Takeaway

It’s not that easy to know and decide on the best potential tenants. However, conducting tenant screening can make it easier. And always remember that rental history verification will help ensure that the tenant is truthful, and reliable, and can learn more about their status.

Therefore, hiring a property management company like Pro Realty can help you, screen tenants, thoroughly and verify tenant rental history reports. 

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