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FAQ: What shows up when you do a background check on potential tenants?

If you are looking to rent a new house or apartment, you may be asked, as part of the application process, to submit to a background and credit check.  We are here to let you know what goes on behind the scenes when landlords are screening a tenant.

Here is some information that might turn up:

1.       Your Criminal History

Landlords want to make sure that you will be an easygoing and reliable tenant.  Making sure that you do not have a tumultuous background ensures that you will be a good addition to the rental community you are joining.

Landlords will likely not be interested in minor issues such as parking or speeding tickets, so don’t get nervous!  They are just ensuring that you won’t disrupt other tenants and that you are likely to complete your lease without incident. They are searching for someone that is likely to treat their property and other tenants with respect.

If your landlord runs a criminal background check, take it as a good sign!  Other residents have likely gone through the same check.  The community you are about to join is more likely to be a safer place to live!

2.       Your Credit Report

If you are asked to report your income and undergo a credit check, this is because your potential landlord wants to know that you can reliably pay your rent as well as handle the other expenses attached to renting a property.

Your landlord can estimate the true cost of your apartment and house; this includes not only rent, but also utilities, local taxes, parking and other fees.  Just because you have taken into account your rent and deposit may not mean you are financially able to take on the property.  A financial and credit check will allow your landlord to determine if you are a reliable tenant who can take on this financial burden.

Don’t worry!  Just like with background screening checks for job seekers, you are allowed by law to obtain a copy of your credit report to check for errors and to know what your landlord knows!

 

3.       Your Relationship With Past Landlords

A thorough screening service that your landlord hires will also contact your past landlords and references.   Again, your landlord is not trying to pry into your personal life.  The screening service your landlord hires is only trying to establish that you are a reliable tenant, have respectful habits, and are likely to abide by the terms of your lease.

Landlords that use a reputable screening service do so for your protection as much as theirs.  You can be sure that if you are asked to undergo a background and credit screening that your landlord has high standards for all his tenants, that he or she values safety and respect, and that he or she is proactive when responding to potential issues or problems.

Congratulations on joining a safer and happier community!

Do you have a question about background screenings or the hiring process?  Let us know by leaving your questions in to comments field below!

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