This post was most recently updated on May 16th, 2023
Being a landlord is interesting, but that is if you have tenants who will take care of your property, maintain good behavior, and not pose a threat to you and other tenants. With a tenant background search, you can get to know who is interested in your property and make an informed decision on who to rent it to. What every landlord wants is a smooth, stress-free, and fast process. But how long does a tenant background search take and what does it entail? This article explains what tenant background search is, what information is necessary, and how to go about it, and how long it takes.
What Is A Tenant Background Check?
A tenant background check entails checking some essential details of prospective tenants like their credit, eviction, criminal, and rental record to determine their suitability for a property. A property management company or a landlord requests this information to enable them to thoroughly screen prospective renters without being biased.
The kind of information you can request in a background check depends on your state or city. In some places, a criminal background check is exempted from the list. A background search must be applicable to all applicants to avoid discriminating against anyone because of their sex, race, or other reasons. You also have to be aware of the fair housing laws and other local regulations to prevent their violation of them and the undermining of applicants’ rights. You must give a chance to potential tenants with criminal or eviction histories to explain themselves. This will make the screening process fair and help you adhere to landlord-tenant laws and HUD guidelines.
To run tenant checks, you need to get the applicants’ permission and their details, including their social security numbers, names, addresses, and birth information. The process may cost some money which the applicants must also know about. After the screening, you will inform applicants of the outcome and your decision.
What Does A Background Search Cover?
The information you need in a background check includes the following:
Landlords are concerned about potential tenants’ rental history as it can reveal a lot. So, you want to see if they pay the rent on time and if you have smooth rental records. In the absence of a rental record, the applicant can tender pay stubs, payment proof, or a reference letter.
Landlords want to see what potential tenants’ credit history looks like. A score of 6oo or more is fine. However, a low score does not mean the applicant will be rejected. Also, landlords want to see that the applicant has been paying the bill on time and have a good record.
Landlords want to ensure they rent out their apartments to someone who can make payments monthly. They also want to see the places you worked in, how long you worked and your reputation there. Some landlords want someone who can stay for six months at a minimum. So, they may be looking out for records of long-term employment.
The criminal record is a red flag for landlords, although applicants can explain some situations to them. Landlords will consider the cases on the profile, both convictions and dismissed cases. In some states, the criminal record is not included.
How Long Does A Tenant Background Search Take?
A background search can be ready in a few minutes. However, it can take up to 24 hours or more if a manual check is needed. In some cases, it might even take up to 72 hours. To make a background search fast, you should include a background search as part of the application. Introducing it, later on, will be time-consuming.
One factor that can impact how long a background search takes is the potential tenant’s approval. The prospective tenant needs to give permission for their records to be accessed. They can as well include a report while applying, as it will make the process faster and smoother.
The company handling the screening process can also determine how long it will take. With an efficient company like US Background Check, the process is fast and easy. To get started, you have to create an account and enlist your properties. Then you can see the applications and manage the screening process.
How Much Do Background Checks Cost?
The application fee usually covers the background check. It costs about $30 to $50, more or less. Some states have regulations on application fees. Before you set your charges, ensure you are adhering to the ordinances and are not charging too much.
How Far Back Do Background Checks Go?
A background search can go as far back as 10 years. Credit reports stay that long. For instance, a bankruptcy can be there for 10 years, and the records of a defaulted loan for 7 years. Conviction records can stay permanently.
A tenant background search helps you screen applicants and make an informed decision on who is best to take in as a renter. It gives you a good idea of who you are renting your property to. The tenant search must be applicable to all applicants, and they have to give their consent before you can request their reports. A background check can be as fast as a few minutes and can also take up to 72 hours, depending on some factors.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Red Flag In A Background Search?
A red flag is any records that can make you unfit to rent the property. It can be a poor credit record, bad rental history, or otherwise.
Do All Landlords Do Background Searches?
Most landlords will do a background check. Some property management may be stringent with the search and may not accept your application if you have some issues. However, there is room for you to explain things.
What Can Make Someone Fail A Background Search?
Red flags can make you fail a tenant’s search. Other reasons can be low income, frequent relocations, or unemployment.