Author Topic: Should you do a background check on your tenants?  (Read 5893 times)


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Should you do a background check on your tenants?
« on: July 17, 2008, 04:52:20 pm »
I've gotten a few questions on background checks.  I'm a bit split on whether I way want to say yes or to to the question of "do I need to do a background check."

I suppose my first reaction is yes, you might as well, there is no harm.  It is not too expensive, and if it saves you from renting out your room to a sex offender then it was well worth it.  At the very least I would meet the person face to face for an interview.  If you can't do that, then by all means get a background check done.  A background check is done by accessing public records, usually on a state by state basis.  Most states have a way for you to do this for free, but it can be time consuming to check each state.  So that is where the paid services come in, they access all the databases in just seconds and spit out the information for you.  Well worth the money in my opinion.

One company is InfoRegistry.  You can either buy one report or buy a one month pass for $40.  That is probably the best idea, as you can run as many reports as you want for that month while you screen possible tenants.  While you're at it, you can look up dirt on all your friends and family too!

As far as asking the renter to pay the fee, I dont agree with that idea.  I see some listings on WhatsTheRent say "$500 deposit plus background check fee."  Personally, I think that the landlord should pay the fee.  It is a cost of doing business and tax deductible.

I do think that it is a good idea to tell your potential renters that you will be conducting a background check.  It gives them an opportunity to give you any information you might soon be finding out.  Remember that there are always two sides to every story, so you might want to give the renter a change to explain anything you might find.  Also, to make your background check easier you are going to need their birthdate, middle name, and last one or two addresses.  This way you can sort through all the "John Smiths" and find the one that you want.

« Last Edit: July 17, 2008, 04:56:54 pm by James »