Rental Background Check Demystified

January 8, 2016Diana Lengerson

As a landlord, no matter where you are in the world, you would not want to have a tenant in your property that has a checkered rental past. You’d want a tenant who hasn’t suffered evictions or one who has a perfect credit score.


They are few and far between and for you to get an ideal tenant, a tenant background check is necessary. This will help you know what kind of a person you are about to let into your property lest you let in one with a history of damaging property.

There are always cases of tenants who have a record of not paying rent in time or at all, others have real criminal records while others have suffered evictions till they are used to it.

This is when you go for a tenant background check. It’s not a complicated process. A tenant, prior to renting a residence, is required to permit the potential landlord to carry out a tenant background check.

As a tenant, you need not be alarmed by a tenant background check being carried out on you. There are proper procedures to be adhered to when doing this and even constitutional acts governing the process.

How to carry out a rental background check

  • Rental application form: Have your prospective tenant fill in their details like their names in full, their contact information, age, place of birth, social security number and other identification numbers. Make copies of their licenses and identity cards too. Something else that should go into the rental application form that will really boost the tenant’s background check is the contacts of the previous landlords, about two or three of them. It is also important that they fill in their current income and a few referees.
  • Consent for credit check: This is where the constitutional acts kick in. As a landlord, you are expected to seek approval to conduct a credit check. If the potential tenant is hesitant to comply or fails to sign the authorization form, you have the right to deny him the chance to rent your property. If he agrees, go ahead and counter-check this information with two or more credit reference bureaus. Check for foreclosures, bankruptcies and financial reliability of your prospective tenant. The higher the score is, the better.
  • Personal Interview: If you are certain that they are worthy of being your tenants, you also know that you will be interacting with them frequently. It is important that you get to know them in a friendly way, a way that is respectful. Seek to know their reasons for moving, whether they have any pets, are they working, if yes, is it day or night? Do they smoke?
  • Background check: Contact his employer, his referees and previous landlords to verify the information they have provided you with. From the employer, you can seek to find out how long he has been employed and how his conduct has been? From the previous landlords, ask whether they honored the lease agreement fully.


Kevin King is a real estate consultant who has written widely on tenant and landlord relations. He is also a key real estate developer. Fore more information about the rental background check, please visit his blog today.


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