RENT Magazine Q3 '21

Preventing Tenant Fraud The saying, “You can’t judge a book by its cover” is especially true in the rental

tenant screening tips

world. Don’t be fooled and don’t assume. A disreputable-looking

Begin with a completed application that includes current and prior landlords, employment history and references. Run a background and/or criminal check. This process can also include sex offender convictions and Social Security Number fraud. A credit report will not only reveal their credit score, but whether they make their payments on time. A bankruptcy during the prior seven years will also be shown. Contact their previous landlords to learn if they were a reliable tenant who paid their rent on time and followed the terms of their lease. Request financial documents, such as pay stubs and bank statements to verify their economic situation.

applicant could turn out to be a very responsible tenant while a well-dressed one could be hiding their dishonesty. This is where a thorough background check comes in. Protect yourself from unscrupulous grifters who prey on unsuspecting landlords. Do not assume that the presented documents are correct or that the references are authentic. Reserve judgment until you know all the facts. Although it might be time-consuming when you do it yourself, the importance of running a complete employment, landlord and criminal history cannot be overstated. But as a member of AAOA, you have 24/7 online access to the verification industry’s most complete range of background check resources, including a Tenant Pay Option and instant credit reports. Whatever verification process you use, you can rent with more confidence that your investment and your property are protected.

Nancy Abrams Assistant Editor

Nancy Abrams has enjoyed a long career in real estate marketing throughout Southern California and Las Vegas. She formerly represented 19 Merrill Lynch Realty branch offices, property managers The Roberts Companies, new home developers, including master planned communities Peccole Ranch and The Valencia Company and shopping centers for Sandy Sigel of NewMark Merrill.

American Apartment Owners Association (866) 579-2262

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