A tenant screening can include a national criminal history screening, as well as examining their eviction history, credit report, and employment history. Moreover, a property manager or landlord may choose to run more than one or all of these. Prospective tenants must be asked for signed consent to undergo each type of check. In general, the tenant is expected to pay an application fee, which covers the background check.
Landlords rely on tenant screening to get more information about housing candidates, including any potential red flags. However, they can hardly be criticized for this because a rental property is usually a serious investment. To potential tenants, the process can seem intimidating, especially when they don’t have much experience looking for an apartment. This article looks at some important aspects related to running a tenancy background check. Specifically, we will discuss how far back a background check can go, how long it takes, as well as relevant tenants’ rights, and what landlords or property managers typically look for.
The credit report screening is the part of the background check that often worries prospective tenants the most. While a low credit score can adversely impact your chances, many landlords consider multiple factors when looking at it. These include VantageScore numbers or whether the candidate has recently applied for a new card or loan. In addition, they will check to see whether the candidate tends to make payments on time. Many people’s credit scores were hit hard by the recession, and this is taken into account. The impact of job loss will be considered, too.
Therefore, it is recommended to get your credit report if you haven’t looked at your score lately. This way, you can also get any errors on your report fixed before someone else sees them. If you have no credit history and your score is below 600, it’s not the end of the world. The landlord might ask you to find someone to cosign for you on your lease.
Rental history screening will generate a report with a list of all the properties you’ve rented in the past, along with your previous landlords’ contact information. In the absence of rental history, the landlord may look at your pay stubs, other proof of employment, and references. People whose records demonstrate a pattern of late payment are often rejected.
This background check component looks at arrests that have resulted in convictions, as well as cases that weren’t prosecuted or were dismissed. In addition, cases that didn’t lead to conviction will remain on someone’s record for seven years. Convictions will be removed from the record if it’s sealed.
In general, landlords look for monthly net income that’s at least three times the rent they charge. An employment background check looks at how long you’ve had your current job, your employment history, and your income. The property manager might call your company to have your length of employment verified. Having worked somewhere for less than six months might not leave the best impression. If this is the case, you can get some letters of recommendation to show to your landlord, ideally from your boss.
Apartment background checks usually go back seven to 10 years. Landlords’ criteria to reject a housing applicant are required to be uniform. Double standards are in violation of federal fair housing laws. It helps to know the laws in your state because the ones governing tenancy applications and background checks vary.
Timeframe and Costs
Usually, an apartment background check takes only a few hours to complete. It’s one of the smallest parts of the housing application process in general. The rental application fee, which is paid by the candidate and covers the check, is up to $50.
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