Tenant Screening helps prevent neighborhood blight in recession

Dec 14, 2009 - 3:20 pm | By

According to a recent article on Fox, property owners in Memphis, Tennessee are watching their neighborhoods turn to blight as the properties around them fall into disrepair, become abandoned with overgrown lawns and attract squatters and criminal activity.  Some property owners say that the property maintenance is the responsibility of the tenants.   Dr. Phyllis Betts, the director of the “Center for Community Building and Neighborhood Action” suggested tenant screening as a solution to reducing neighborhood blight.   Conducting background checks on your tenants will provide you with a portrait of your prospective tenants past behavior including criminal activity and financial responsibility.   Running an eviction search can give you enough information to determine if you want to risk having a tenant in your property who has already failed to pay back a previous property owner.  

The trouble in this recesssion is that even people with good credit are having a hard time paying their bills.   A credit report is only as good as the moment it was taken.  Insisting on proof of employment is a valuable way to make sure you tenant can at least pay next months rent.  But what about four months from now? after your tenant has moved in.  Are you noticing signs of problems?  Have the checks been arriving later and later in the month?  Are you charging late fees?  Is your tenant dating their checks for later in the month?  Are you feeling squeezed?  It’s difficult to know the right thing to do.  Always adhere to the local, state, and nationals laws about housing.  It is worth maintaining a line of communication with your tenant.  Maintain accurate and current contact information for your tenant.  Should they decide to skip town without paying rent, contact information will assist with locating and collecting any judgments you obtain.

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