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TENANT BACKGROUND CHECKS: How-To Tips for Tenant File Maintenance

Screening the tenant with a credit or rental background check before you rent is only half the battle. Circumstances can change, and your ideal tenant, who once had a clean tenant criminal background check, can become a potential rent collection problem. Maintaining a current and complete tenant file is a simple way to protect your valuable investment.

Remember, the sooner you are aware of a potential problem, the sooner you can gain control and minimize your losses.

Here are some tips for Tenant File Maintenance:

Track Changes in Payment Method.

  • If a personal check is used, photocopy it each month.
  • Note changes in names on each check. Relationship changes are the single largest cause for failure to pay rent.
  • If you do need to take legal action, your diligence would not be wasted. The bank information will be crucial in helping to recover your money judgment.

Track Changes in Employment

  • Require your tenant to update you when their employment status changes. Note the new employer’s name and address.

Credit Report Updates

  • A basic credit report should be run every 12-24 months on each tenant. This is an inexpensive way to see if he has been paying bills on time, going into more debt, and may even indicated if he has been shopping for another apartment or even a mortgage for a home. Run a tenant criminal background check periodically as well.

American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services related to apartment management, including tenant debt collection, a rental background check, insurance and financing. Find out more at

For more information on Tenant Background Checks, see our interview with Fidelity Information Corporation CEO Jeff Cronrod, TENANT BACKGROUND CHECKS: LITTLE KNOWN WAYS TO AVOID COSTLY MISTAKES. This exclusive interview is included on the American Apartment Owners Association CD series, Real Estate Investment Secrets, twelve exclusive interviews with industry experts that will supercharge your ability to locate the best investment properties and manage or sell them for maximum profit.

Real Estate Investment Secrets is available exclusively through the American Apartment Owners Association. To purchase a copy, visit Join as a PremiumPlus member, receive all the benefits of membership, and this CD series is our gift to you.

For tips on how your rental background check can affect your chances for recovery of unpaid rent, check out our series on the blog Seven Vital Tips to Help You Collect Your Tenant Debt.

Have tips to share on doing a rental background check or tenant criminal background check? Please post your comment.

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