The global market for tenant screening services is worth approximately $5.3 billion. They're one of the most important and sought-after parts of the even larger property management market.
The tenant screening process involves much more than a simple background check. There's a complex set of laws to navigate, but the right help and technology can help you through.
Read on to learn three important things to know about tenant screening.
1. Do a Background Check
It's tempting to want to rush tenant selection when your property sits vacant, but this is one of the worst mistakes you can make. It's the type of negligence that will leave you with damage and complaints later.
Run a thourough tenant background check on every applicant. Make sure to look into their:
- Eviction history
- Criminal history
- Employment history
- Current income
- Landlord references
2. Be Legally Compliant
Federal fair housing laws regulate how and why you can refuse a tenant. You can't discriminate against them based on seven protected classes, including:
- National origin/ethnic background
- Familial status
- Mental/physical disability
Criminal history isn't a protected class. Federal law says you have the right to deny an applicant based on their criminal history, but you can't deny all applicants who have one.
The FCRA or Fair Credit Reporting Act protects credit information. It outlines how you can undergo credit reports. At a minimum, you need their signature on their application saying they consent to the background check.
The best way to stay legal is to write a written rental policy or tenant screening criteria. It outlines what you require of any tenant, and it should be the legal guidelines you hold all your tenants to.
3. Get Help
When you hire a professional tenant screening service, they'll handle the background checks for you as well. They know what to look for and where to find the right tenants.
You can trust that they're familiar with all the necessary laws. They can make sure that you get the best possible tenants without breaking any rules.
There are other types of property management help you can hire, such as tenant placement services. They advertise, screen, and negotiate with all applicants.
Making it quicker is often thanks to property management software. The market's worth $2.9 billion.
Technology to help you screen tenants is a great help, but what about managing them once they come in? How can you keep track of their requests?
The answer is a tenant portal is one of the best ways to save time and money on your entire real estate investment journey.
Where to Find Full-Service Property Management
Getting the right tenants in your property is one of the most important parts of real estate investment, and that's why you can't let just anyone in.
Do background checks and familiarize yourself with all the necessary laws surrounding them. Utilize technology such as tenant portals and hire help such as tenant screening or placement services.
We offer a variety of property management services. Contact us for help with tenant screening in Cleveland, Ohio today.