5 Key Elements of an Effective Tenant Background Check in South New Jersey

5 Key Elements of an Effective Tenant Background Check in South New Jersey

Evictions remain a major epidemic for our country's renters, with over 1.1 million evictions last year.

If you're a South New Jersey property owner, evicting a tenant is one of the biggest sources of stress. You need to protect your property from poor tenant behavior. If a tenant puts your investment at risk, you must act.

Today, we'll discuss the different elements of a successful tenant background check. Screening tenants is a proactive method landlords can use to avoid evictions, so read these tenant screening tips and protect your property the right way.

1. Confirm Their Identity

The tenant verification process should begin with confirming the applicant's identity. If you're going to perform a criminal background or credit check, you need to make sure you're doing it for the correct person.

This is the easiest part of your background check. Simply check government identification - passports, driver's licenses, etc. - and make sure the name, picture, and any other personal data belong to the person on the application.

2. Look at Criminal History

One of the truly important parts of a background check is the criminal background check. This is a common tactic landlords use to make sure they're not putting their property or other renters at risk by allowing a dangerous person into the unit.

The report will give you information on past criminal convictions, arrest records, outstanding warrants, sex offenses, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of landlord best practices and fair housing laws around criminal background checks.

3. Perform a Credit Check

Credit checks help you determine an applicant's financial standing over a longer period. A tenant with poor credit isn't necessarily a bad option, but it tells you that they've had trouble with their finances in the past.

You'll need to look at other information to determine whether or not they'll be able to afford rent. Failure to pay rent is the most common reason for eviction, so it's important to find someone with stable finances.

4. Contact Character References

Character references tell you more about how an applicant will behave as your tenant. The best references to speak to are former landlords. They can give you all of the information you need to decide if a tenant is the right fit.

This part of the screening process sits right at the top of our list of renting property tips. A tenant can have no convictions and perfect finances, but if they're a poor tenant, their former landlord will let you know.

5. Employment History

Employment history lets you know how stable they are as an employee. Someone who has bounced around to many different jobs isn't a reliable tenant because they could be out of work or moving on before long. You want a tenant who can demonstrate long periods of stable employment.

Perform a Tenant Background Check Every Time

Performing a tenant background check will help you separate the best tenants from the rest. Keeping great tenants makes being a landlord so much easier and helps you maintain your ROI.

If you need help screening your tenants, rental property management can help. At PMI Property Service, we offer thorough screening services, as well as maintenance, rent collection, and accounting.

Contact us today to learn how we can improve your rental property in 2024.