An essential goal of a landlord is to choose good tenants. Renters who end up not paying their rent, damaging the property, or engaging in illegal activity can end up costing the landlord a ton of money and big headaches. Selecting which applicant to choose should involve more than simply reviewing their rental application and checking out what they look like. Running a background check is important to help minimize the risk of a bad tenant. Finding the highest quality, most trustworthy tenants is why landlords need to strive to make sure they are receiving the best tenant checks possible.
A professional tenant screening company can supply landlords with the information they need to decide whether or not the applicant would end up being a good tenant. Let’s review a landlord’s complete checklist for choosing the best tenant screening company.
Offer a wide range of products. The last thing most landlords have time for is chasing down several different vendors for the best tenant screening reports. For example, stay away from tenant screening companies that only offer criminal records searches but don’t supply credit reports. Confirm you can receive all the information you need about the applicant from one vendor before you choose a company. Click here to see all of AAOA’s tenant screening products including renter credit checks and tenant background checks.
Have an easy to use platform. If it’s difficult to place an order for a tenant background check, landlords may procrastinate ordering one, or avoid the process all together. It’s important the tenant screening company has an online ordering process that can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection. The ordering platform should also provide clear direction on the type of information needed to order a tenant check, and the reports that can be ordered. See how our Red Package tenant screening report clearly requests all information upfront.
Provide accessible customer service. Nothing ruins a happy morning like trying to get to a customer service agent and not connecting with a live human. Landlords who end up with questions about their reports or run into issues requiring assistance will find non-responsive customer service hugely frustrating. Your best bet for avoiding this problem is to select a tenant screening company whose customer service department is located in the United States, and that provides you with a phone number directly linking you to the service department. AAOA offers a toll free number for all customers, just call 866-579-AAOA (2262) or use our Contact Page.
Deliver a clear pricing structure. Beware of tenant screening companies that don’t have their tenant background check prices on their website, or those that avoid answering the pricing question. Professional tenant check agencies usually maintain consistent pricing front and center on their website. At the least, they should be able to quote you a price immediately if you contact them.
Another option a tenant screening company should offer is package pricing. Building a screening package from several tenant check products offers landlords the dual benefits of a more comprehensive screening report and less overall cost than purchasing each screening product separately. Make certain your chosen tenant screening company has clear a pricing structure, and offers screening packages.
Follow FCRA compliant procedures. Tenant background checks are considered consumer reports under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and are subject to compliance. Ask for information about how the company complies with the FCRA. Another question you want to ask for information about is the adverse action process, which landlords must follow if they choose not to rent to an applicant based on the content of the background check. The American Apartment Owners Association is proud to partner with ARI, our tenant screening company, who assists AAOA and its members to ensure all FCRA compliant procedures are followed accordingly.
Tenant background checks provides landlords with vital information they can use to decide whether or not an applicant is a good fit for the property. But smart landlords must remember the information is only as accurate and helpful as the company providing it. Before choosing to work with a tenant screening company, be sure to use this checklist to make certain the company offers the pricing, platform, and customer service you need, and they maintain procedures that are compliant with the FCRA.