Choosing only good tenants is the perfect way to shore up your profits from your rental property investment. You need accurate, up-to-date information on your rental applications so you can make an informed choice on your next tenant. The accuracy of tenant screening reports relies in large part on what information you obtain from the prospective renter.

In order to save your valuable time evaluating prospective renters, and get the most value from your reports, you may want to keep these tips in mind:

With all reports, accuracy depends on having the full legal name of the applicant. Make certain that the rental application spells out the prospective renter’s full legal name, including their middle name. This name should match all of the other identification that they provided. You should note any alias names, nicknames, maiden name or previous married names the candidate may have used in the past.

Clarify generational symbols included in the prospect’s name, like Jr., Sr., II, III. This will be important when you check tenant credit so you can identify your applicant from other relatives.

Check married couple’s surnames on the rental application against the ID’s they provide. The wife may be using the husband’s surname only casually. It may not be her legal name. Also, the couple may not be legally married. That may have an impact on tenant checks.

Ask for the prospective renter’s Social Security number. That is one of the best ways to cross-check that the renter credit check you order will match the applicant you have in your office.

Make sure to ask for the prospect’s date of birth. This information is particularly important for accurate criminal checks. Criminal reports are not indexed by Social Security numbers in many courts, due to the privacy concerns over having those numbers included in documents that could be pirated by identity thieves. A date of birth may be the only way to verify that a positive criminal report matches the applicant, or whether the prospective renter’s only crime was having the same name as another person with a criminal history.

A list of a candidate’s previous addresses is a helpful way to confirm that the tenant credit check matches the applicant. This information is also useful in determining if the rental applicant may have stolen someone else’s information. Identity theft is a real problem landlords face, and one of the many reasons to run tenant screening reports. The previous address list is one way to catch a tenant who has been evicted in the past, but is trying to hide that part of their history to avoid being rejected.