Part of every good tenant screening process is the rental background check, which will allow you or your Sandy property manager to learn as much as possible about your potential resident. Before you hand over the keys to one of your most valuable assets, make sure you are renting your home to someone who is financially responsible, unlikely to cause damage, and willing to communicate with you openly and responsively. 

Everyone conducts their tenant screenings a bit differently. Here are the things you don’t want to forget when you’re looking for good tenants.

Background Checks for Landlords Must Comply with Fair Housing

When you screen a tenant, you check into their backgrounds and you also do some investigating to ensure that all of the information they provided on the application is true and accurate. This is how you decide whether you’ll approve them for tenancy or deny their application. You have to be consistent and treat every application the same, otherwise you can be accused of fair housing violations, which can be expensive. 

Good tenants can and must be found while following all fair housing laws. Put your screening process in writing and let your tenants know what you’ll be looking for before they submit an application. Then, you can trust your process and so can your prospective tenants.  

Tenant Screening Includes Credit Checks

Checking credit history is an important part of your tenant screening process. Some landlords will want to see a specific credit score. That can be a useful way to establish some criteria, but we also recommend you look closely at an applicant’s history of paying bills, especially housing-related bills.

You definitely don’t want to see a history of past evictions. Good residents pay their utility bills on time. You can also use the credit report to verify addresses and residencies. If anything looks inconsistent during the screening process, you can ask your applicant to explain. 

Rental Background Checks for Criminal Records 

A nationwide background check is also an important part of screening tenants. It’s hard to feel comfortable placing a tenant with a history of violent behavior or theft. We recommend checking every national database that lists sexual offenders and sexual predators. Make sure your applicants provide permission for you to conduct this check; you’ll need a signature on the application.

Verify Employment and Income

Check employment and verify income when you’re screening Sandy tenants. You can call the applicant’s employer and ask about the position that’s held, the length of employment, and salary. You can also ask for documentation from the applicant like pay stubs and tax returns. Typically, you’ll want to see an income that’s at least three times the monthly rent.   

Tenant Screening Includes Rental History

Verify Applicant's Rental HistoryVerify the applicant’s rental history, and talk to current and former landlords. Find out if rent was paid on time, whether any property damage was left behind, and if the lease terms were followed. You also want to verify that the dates of residency match up to what’s on the application. 

These are some of the important checklist items to incorporate into your tenant screening process. If you’d like some help with background checks or leasing your Sandy rental property, please contact us at Safeguard Property Management. Safeguard is recognized as a leader in Salt Lake City property management. We provide residential rental management services to owners of single-family homes, townhouses, condos and duplexes throughout Salt Lake County and the northern portion of Utah County.