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Tenant Screening Criteria Changes For Our Changing Times
by D. D. of ClearScreening.com

In the past couple of years, the real estate market has been turned upside down - experiencing a down turn in the economy, failed banking industry, and all-time high unemployment rate. All these factors have led to a massive foreclosure rate and high rental vacancy rate for landlords and property managers across the country. Our property management customers, who represent all 50 states, are experiencing an average 20% vacancy rate. With the major losses in jobs and a failing real estate market, there are large numbers of people unable to keep up with their bills.

Every landlord is looking for good, long-term tenants. These renters are still out there, but, in this current recession, may have fallen on hard times, lost their jobs, and been forced to start over. This does not necessarily mean that they will be bad tenants – determining that would require a deeper look at their credit report where you can see the payment patterns and when they started to fall behind. Tenant screening has been and is at the forefront of accepting new tenants both before and in this new economic environment. However, if landlords continue to use outdated screening criteria, they may have a difficult time filling their vacancies.

Read more about changing your Tenant Screening Criteria Here


Tips for Fair Housing Compliance
by D. D. of ClearScreening.com

One of the most important things a landlord needs to keep in mind during the tenant screening process is to make sure they are compliant with fair housing regulations. Every applicant must be treated the same regardless of race or color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (families with children) and the disabled. If a landlord is found guilty of refusing to rent to anyone for any of the described reasons they face fines and criminal penalties.

The best way to avoid claims of discrimination is to be consistent in your tenant screening practices. Perform the same credit and background checks for each and every applicant. Your tenant screening company should be able to recommend the reports that are most commonly run and/or the most targeted for the information you'd like to retrieve. We at ClearScreening recommend at least a credit report and criminal background search. However, an evictions search, which shows any unlawful/forcible detainers and/or civil suits, will help round out your tenant screening package. Once you choose the reports you'd like to run, be sure to run the same reports on every applicant to help ensure that you cannot be accused of discrimination.

Read more about staying compliant with Fair Housing Regulations Here


Setting Up Your Tenant Screening Criteria
by D. D. of ClearScreening.com

Before any landlord begins to accept applications from prospective tenants, he/she should establish policies or guidelines for what will be acceptable in a new tenant. These policies should comply with Fair Housing Act regulations, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and your state and local laws. While criteria may vary from landlord to landlord and between one property and another, the criteria used for a particular period of screening for the same or similar units should be consistent. The criteria you establish should be used for every application that you screen to help safeguard you against claims of discrimination.

Read more about setting up your Tenant Screening Criteria Here


How ClearScreening Can Help Reduce Your Risk

As a property manager or landlord, you are responsible for placing qualified tenants into your own or someoneís rental property. Finding a good tenant is hard to do, and no one can know whether or not an applicant will be a good tenant based solely on an initial interview. ClearScreening offers several cost-effective reports to provide you with all the information you need to make the right decisions on prospective tenants.

Our various tenant screening options help you reduce the risk of:

  • Donít take the chance that your applicant wonít pay the rent. Each month of non-payment costs you money. On top of that, eviction of these non-paying tenants can cost thousands of dollars. It is important to know if the applicant has a history of paying rent or other bills late, has an unstable employment record, or has declared bankruptcy. Reviewing the applicantís credit report and employment verification report can help assure you that you are selecting a tenant who is financially stable and able to make payments on time.
  • Your tenants rely on you for a safe living environment. Be sure that you know the criminal records of possible tenants before renting to them. Renting to those with criminal records not only compromises the safety of your residents, but also increases the risk of damage due to theft. Review the applicantís criminal report to ensure the safety of your other tenants.
  • You or your customers have spent a lot of money on the purchase and maintenance of the property that you are renting out. Making sure the tenants you select will take good care of the property is one of the most important things to consider as a property manager. Our eviction data report and residence verification report will help you determine what kind of tenant your applicant has been in the past.



   
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