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Application Fraud Continues to Rise

Hey all,

This picture is very misleading. These two are constantly at each otherss throats. Speaking of misleading… this is a great informative article by USA Today on the rise of application fraud. We started using Findigs two and a half years ago to offset fraud and have found them to be extremely helpful. Our application fraud is down to ZERO. There is certainly a higher cost but it’s been well worth it to ensure the best tenants possible.


How to Screen a Tenant for a Residential Property: A Comprehensive Guide

Screening tenants effectively is a crucial step in managing a residential property. It ensures that you find responsible and reliable residents who will pay rent on time, maintain the property, and adhere to the terms of their lease. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to screen a tenant that balances thoroughness with professionalism.

1. Establish Your Criteria

Before you begin the tenant screening process, it’s important to define your criteria clearly. These criteria can include income level (we do 3x the monthly rent), credit score, rental history, and other relevant factors such as pet policies or smoking rules. Ensure these requirements comply with the Fair Housing Act and other local laws, avoiding any discriminatory practices.

2. Collect Applications

Use a standardized application form that requests the necessary information: full name, current address, employer, salary, past evictions, and references. Ensure you also get the applicant’s consent to run background and credit checks. Charge an application fee if necessary to cover the costs of these checks, keeping in mind that some local laws cap these fees.

3. Conduct Credit and Background Checks

Credit checks provide insight into the applicant’s financial reliability and payment history, while background checks can reveal important information about criminal history. Utilize a reputable screening service to perform these checks to ensure accuracy and compliance with the law.

4. Check County Records for Evictions

Most companies that do background checks do not (or do this very badly) do this! This is a very important step so you’re not left with a “professional tenant.”

5. Verify Employment and Income

Contact the applicant’s employer to verify employment status and get bank statements to verify income. Paystubs have become very easy to manipulate. The best option is to use companies like Findigs so that applicants need to connect their bank accounts to verify income. This step is crucial to ensure the tenant can afford the rent. Generally, look for tenants whose monthly income is at least three times the monthly rent.

6. Contact Previous Landlords

References from previous landlords can be invaluable. They can provide firsthand accounts of the tenant’s behavior, payment history, and how well they maintained the property. Ask specific questions to get a clear picture of the tenant’s past tenancy experiences.

7. Make a Decision

After collecting all the information, it’s time to make a decision. Weigh all factors carefully. If the applicant meets all your criteria and has good references, they could be a great tenant. However, if there are red flags, such as a history of eviction or inconsistent employment, continue your search.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

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