Pitfalls Of Poor Tenant Screening Part 1

Most seasoned Landlords have been subjected to a similar scenario: a prospect shows up to view a property and says they have first months rent, full deposit and need to move in right away due to some semi-believable story.  It’s tough to pass up the money in hand when the market reflects a surplus of inventory.  They seem like a nice couple, are not trying to negotiate, and you are tired of showing the unit, so you take the money straight to the bank and turn over keys.  This is usually where the dream ends and the nightmare begins.

Skyscraper Charlotte Property Management (5)

This used to happen more often years ago, when we didn’t have the power to search courthouse records 24/7 from our phones.  However, you may be surprised to hear that it still happens a lot.  People who “work the system”, grifters, scammers, con artists, deadbeats, shysters, whatever you call them, know how to play it to their benefit.  They show up in nice clothes, speak kindly and with respect, praise the property, and can tell their story with so much drama it will leave you teary eyed.

Here’s a video of one example showing the condition of a property where the owner did very little to screen the prospect:

https://youtu.be/xnLU8ekyANg

Please, please, please resist the urge.  If they have to stay in a hotel for a day or two, you would be better served in the long run.  Before you even start marketing your property for rent you should have a tenant screening company set up so you don’t lose time setting them up once a tenant is ready to move.  I am not here to sell you on one company over another.  There are plenty of very good screening companies out there.  I would suggest you find one that offers as many of the following services as possible:

Nationwide criminal search
Nationwide eviction search
Credit report
Social Security Number validation
Lien/Judgment search
Sex offender registry search (Nationwide, in case they did not register at previous address)
Employment verification
Landlord (more importantly previous Landlord) verification
Global Homeland security search

I will dig in deeper on the next installment.