Have you recently joined the ranks of property managers and are now wondering how to check someone’s rental history? You’re certainly right to consider this an important issue.
How well you screen your applicants is a huge determinant of how successful you will be. So, we’re going to give you three ways of doing it.
We’ll begin with a rudimentary approach and then discuss an improved method of getting the job done. And finally, we’ll consider the most efficient way of screening tenants and checking their rental history.
The Good Enough Way of How to Check Rental History
Are you a hands-on kind of person? Do you prefer to do things the traditional way? If so, you’re probably the type of property manager who likes to perform rental history checks manually.
At one time, manually looking into the rental history of a potential tenant was standard practice. There were no other options. Today, there are other ways of getting information.
But not everyone enjoys using today’s technology. So, even in this fast-paced world, you can slow things down and perform your check the way your grandparents probably did.
You’re going to have to make a lot of phone calls or send a lot of letters. For example, imagine that your potential tenants have moved several times in the past few years. They may have five or six landlords you’ll need to reach.
Dealing With Rental Agencies
Some of the landlords may be professional rental agencies. In those cases, you should be able to file your request for information quickly. It may take days for the agency to respond, but at least you’ve made contact. Fortunately, these sorts of landlords will often have adequate record-keeping systems that can yield valuable data to you.
Dealing With Mom-and-Pop Companies
However, in situations where the landlord is a one-person operation, it may be more difficult even to reach that person. People go on vacation, get sick or change their phone numbers. It may take days or even weeks to track down your target. Then you’ll have to wait until they find the old files on that person and then respond to you.
Don’t count on getting anything but basic information. Your applicant may not have made much of an impression on the landlord. Sometimes, that’s a good thing. But it leaves you with very little insight into the renter’s character. The only thing the landlord may remember is that the renter generally made his payments on time.
A Much Better Method Means Requesting a Rental History Report
You can save yourself time and labor by requesting a rent history check from specialized agencies. One such company is RentBureau which is now part of Experian.
Rent and Credit Reports in One Place
Most people are familiar with Experian as a consumer credit reporting bureau. Its purchase of RentBureau enables renters to improve their credit rating by making their rent payments on time.
Previously, renters could make their payments on time and yet not elevate their credit score. But on the other hand, collections and evictions were routinely reported to agencies like Experian. And, of course, they had a negative effect on credit scores.
Using a Rent History Reporting Agency to Your Advantage
For you, as a manager, Experian’s acquisition of RentBureau means that you can quickly request a credit history from the same place where you typically perform credit checks. How does it work?
Property owners and managers submit data to Experian RentBureau electronically. Once the data is processed, it’s ready to be shared with other owners and managers like you.
You should be able to see if the tenant has a history of writing checks with insufficient funds. Do they tend to move and leave balances? What kind of leases have they signed?
The Superior Way to Get Rental History is With Tenant Screening Software
When you’re ready to take the next step in your growth as a property manager, consider using tenant screening software. Instead of having to make a request to an agency such as Experian RentBureau, you’ll have the data you need at your fingertips to check past rental history.
The Features of Excellent Tenant Screening Software
A good software program will gather its information from various sources and make it easily readable and understandable. You won’t have to settle for a bare-bones rental history. Instead, you’ll also have a credit score and insight into the tenant’s employment.
When you have access to income verification, you will no longer waste time with applicants who can’t afford the lease. You no longer will have to deal with that situation where you rent to a pleasant young couple with great career aspirations that never seemed to get off the ground. After a few months, they’re struggling to pay the rent, and facing eviction.
You’ll also see at a glance whether the tenant has a history of evictions. You’ll also know with a click of a mouse whether that person’s checks are safe to accept. And the thorough background check will inform you if you’re dealing with someone with a particularly troubling criminal record.
A Comprehensive Background Check is Always Worth It
Screening out dangerous potential tenants can save lives. The process can also eliminate your headaches as a property manager. For example, you are less likely to deal with the police and the courts.
You also give a feeling of comfort to your other tenants when they know that their family and friends are safe on your property. And happy tenants are far more likely to become long-time tenants.
How Do You Want to Check Rental History?
Have you decided which method of screening tenants you’d like to use? You will have no trouble finding property managers who use the first two methods. But you’ll find managers who want to do their jobs with the least amount of stress using tenant screening software.
Contact us today if you’d like to see a live demonstration of how efficiently our software can check rental history and change your work life.