As a landlord, you need to be careful who you rent your property to. The easiest way to do this is by doing a background check on applicants. A background check on a tenant will let you know what their credit history is like and whether they have a criminal history. It helps to determine if a tenant is going to be responsible and reliable when it comes to paying their rent on time and keeping the property in good condition. You will need permission from the tenant to run a background check. This is done with a Tenant Background Check Authorization Form.
What is a Credit and Background Check?
A credit check looks at your credit history, which includes any loans you may have, bankruptcies, foreclosures, late payments, and defaults. A background check will not only look at credit details, but also look at criminal and eviction records, address history, public records, employment history, and fraud indicators.
The information that a credit and background check will show you depends on the service provider you choose to run the reports, so be sure to ask for a list of what you will be confirmed by the service provider you select.
What is a Tenant Background Check Authorization Form?
The background authorization form is a release from that the tenant agrees upon and signs, allowing you to do a background check of their credit and criminal history. In most cases, the landlord will charge a fee for running this check, which can range between $30 to $75.
Free Authorization Forms
How to Get a Tenant Background Check
Your first step is to have a tenant fill out a tenant background check authorization form and sign it. Without this, you legally won’t be able to run the check. Once you have the tenant’s permission, you will need to choose a service provider, such as MySmartMove.com or Experian.com, to run the necessary tests for you. Once a check has been done, you will receive your report on the tenant in question. This will help you to decide whether you should rent to them or not.
We have put together a detailed template that you can download for free, along with some samples to help you become familiar with a tenant background check authorization form. It will include all of the information you need to have to run a comprehensive background check. These can be quite helpful and can be adapted should you need relevant details.
Why is Permission Needed to Run a Tenant Background Check?
While you may not be required to get permission for some checks, you should do to protect yourself from liability. For instance, if you denied a tenant’s application form based on the information you obtained without their permission, you would be breaking the Fair Housing Laws. Having permission from the tenant will also allow you to see information on their credit and background check that you would not be able to know if you run a check without their permission.
Frequently Asked Questions
For a tenant background check, the tenant’s credit history and any criminal history will be reviewed. This can include proof of employment, evictions, and other relevant details.
Checks can run anywhere between 30 minutes to 3 days.
While some information can be accessed without a tenant’s permission, doing so is illegal under the FCRA, and a landlord can be taken to court for breaching this.
Filling out forms and getting tenants’ permission may seem time-consuming, but it can protect you in several ways, both legally and financially. After all, you want to find good tenants who will respect your property and be reliable. Doing these background checks can make the selection process more comfortable and landlords will know what they are getting into when it comes down to choosing tenants.