Blog & Resources for Landlords

6 Reasons Landlords Should Not Rely on Tenant-Run Credit Checks

Jul 29, 2020 2:47:40 PM

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One of the most important things you can do as a landlord is identify the right tenants. And, a tenant background check can reduce the chance of leasing to risky tenants. Here are eight reasons not to rely on credit checks presented by prospective tenants:

  • A printed credit report from a prospective tenant could be falsified. It's very easy to edit documents to change small details such as dates and numbers that could create major changes in the report.
  • The prospective tenant can get several credit reports from different agencies. These reports will not all necessarily contain the same information, so your applicant could choose the one that makes him or her look best, perhaps excluding an important financial infraction.
  • Accepting a credit report from one tenant could set precedence for other applicants to do the same.
  • Tenant screening services from a professional company will turn up more comprehensive information than a simple tenant-run credit check. In addition to a credit check, receive a rental history check and “score” for that prospective tenant, which will tell you how likely the applicant is to default on a lease.
  • When tenants run their own credit checks, the reports will be from different companies and you will have to sift through the differences to log the information. Running all tenant screening through the same service ensures that you will get consistent reporting.
  • A landlord doesn't have to interpret reports when receiving tenant screening services through a reputable company. Plus, you'll save time by letting the company do the legwork.

Credit history is important, but it's only one element of the rental history of a prospective tenant. Before you hand over the keys, make sure you're handing them over to a tenant who can afford the monthly rent, has a strong history as a renter, and doesn’t have excludable criminal activity as outlined in city or state regulatory guidelines. Afterall, it's a lot easier to part ways before the lease is signed.


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