Baltimore Village Property management knows that Tenant screening is a vital part of the leasing process it minimizes the risk of costly property damage for the property owner, and the local community, all while ensuring that Fair Housing Guidelines are being met.
Tenant Screening Protects your Property
In Baltimore City as a landlord, your first defense in the rental process must be quality tenant screening. By screening applicants for criminal history of property damage, violent offenses, or other serious Baltimore crimes that could pose a higher risk to your property, or neighbors. These preemptive measures will reduce your liabilities and better protect the community.
By the way: some major cities, states, and federal courts are aiming to restrict the use of criminal and eviction records in tenant screening. The Tenant Protection Act was just introduced to the Senate recently and would prohibit your tenant screening provider from showing eviction records on your report unless (among other things) the record was no more than 3 years old. Currently you see eviction records on your tenant screening reports that are dated up to 7 years.
Tenant Screening Safeguards You
You want to rent to someone you can trust, but how can you determine that the applicant you’re reviewing is trustworthy while adhering to the Fair Housing Act (FHA)? Baltimore Tenant screening can help you find an applicant that you can trust while avoiding nasty FHA lawsuits. With the credit report in your tenant screening, you can also determine whether or not they’re financially stable enough to send you rental payments. There’s nothing worse in Baltimore real estate than renting to someone who does not pay their rent… or pays it late.
Tenant Screening Guards your Other Tenants (if you own multiple units)
If you have other tenants on the same property or not, tenant screening can help keep your local community safe. With a tenant screening company that checks through databases like the sex offender registry list, the terrorist watch list (OFAC), and the International Police Organization (INTERPOL), you’ll ensure that your tenants don’t tarnish your reputation with the community. Plus, if you’re planning on doing yard maintenance or property repairs yourself, screening your applicants might give you a little more peace of mind.
Baltimore Rental History Reports When Screening Tenants
One of the biggest opportunities you have as a landlord in Baltimore to collect good background information from prospective renters is with a rental history report. Along with a credit report and a background check, a rental history report gives you the full picture of an applicant’s past behavior in Baltimore housing, which can help you make informed decisions about when to offer a lease and when to pass.
What Is on a Rental History Report?
A survey by SmartMove showed that there are 2 main concerns that landlords have when assessing prospective tenants, which are tenant payment problems and their eviction history. A rental history report can provide valuable information on both. Although laws vary by state, most rental history reports include records of evictions for the past 7 years.
A Baltimore rental history report will also provide information about an applicant’s past residences, rental rates, dates of occupancy, payment history, and adherence to lease requirements.
Why a Rental History Report Is Important for Screening
Think of the rental history as a kind of school report card for your future tenant. It’s your responsibility as a landlord to ensure you’re keeping your building and its residents safe by thoroughly vetting anyone who will have a key.
How to Verify Rental History
Verifying the information on a rental application takes a combination of legwork and documentation. In the case of a rental history report, once you have the information on paper, it’s time to connect with the applicant’s existing and past landlords to verify it.
Keep in mind that in Baltimore just calling the tenant’s current landlord isn’t enough. In extreme cases, some landlords have lost months of rent and may be motivated to lie if it means getting a terrible tenant out of their building. Past landlords, however, have nothing to lose by being truthful, so it’s important to solicit feedback from both.
What Do I ask A Tenants past Landlord In Baltimore
Contacting an applicant’s former landlords doesn’t have to be an arduous process. Baltimore village sends out emails on our landlords behalf to request basic information. If you choose to make the phone calls yourself, here is a brief script of 5 basic questions to ask Baltimore landlords:
- Can you confirm [applicant] rented from you?
- Did [applicant] pay his or her rent on time? Consecutively?
- Did [applicant] reasonably take care of the interior and exterior of the property?
- Was the unit clean and in good order when [applicant] left?
- Was [applicant] disruptive to neighbors or other tenants?
If the applicant doesn’t have a prior landlord to list, or if you’d feel more comfortable with an additional reference, you can always ask for an employer reference. Company information is easier to research and confirm online. For example, you can often check a manager’s name and role by looking her up on LinkedIn or on the “Our Team” page on the company’s website. A credit report, W-2, or pay stubs should also verify the applicant’s place of business and length of employment so you won’t have to take the applicant’s word for it.
Don’t Skip on Tenant Screening In Baltimore
Doing your due diligence to land a solid Baltimore tenant can feel like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. Choosing a tenant screening report offered by a reputable source like Baltimore Village can make the process easier, we know the local and can saving you time and giving you more confidence in your rental decisions.