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TENANT BACKGROUND SCREENING: What’s in a Name?

Application photoAlthough a prospect’s name typically is the first thing a landlord asks for, it is often incomplete on the application and lease. This presents a problem for enforcement of the lease agreement, evictions, subsequent collection efforts, and investigations.Make certain that you recorded the prospect’s full, legal name, including their middle name. This name should match all of the ID.

It is also important that the signature contains the full, legal name.

  • Note any “also known as (a/k/a)” names used — nicknames, maiden names and previous married names.
  • Record the names of children. This may be helpful in subsequent investigations/skip-tracing. Although the kids might be minors when they move in, they could become adults during their residency and assume responsibilities under the lease, or require eviction. Don’t assume the children have the same surnames as the adult residents.
  • Clarify generational symbols ” Jr., Sr., II, III. It is critical to collection efforts that you can identify the debtor from others with the same name.
  • Check married couples’ surnames against their ID. The wife may be using the husband’s surname only casually. It may not be her legal name. Also, they may not be legally married.
  • When renting to a business, make sure you have the legal name of the entity responsible. Note any “doing business as (d/b/a)” names the business may be using, and the names of the principals. Business entity information can be verified against public records.

Tenant debt collection begins before your prospect moves in. Learn more from our series Seven Vital Tips to Help You Collect Tenant Debt.

American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services related to your commercial housing investment, including tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at www.joinaaoa.org.

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