Find out if your new tenant is litigious

Dec 15, 2010 - 11:33 am | By

While many property managers run tenant credit checks on prospective tenants, they are many other background check searches that provide additional insight into your tenant’s background.   First off, a credit history report is a valuable tool for evaluate your tenant’s past fiduciary responsibility.    You will see a FICO score, giving an overall portrait of your tenant’s creditworthiness, as well as any public records such as bankruptcies, tax liens, and civil judgments, and any open trade-lines and any charge-offs.  You can determine how much they are paying on monthly credit card bills as well as other long term loans such as auto loans, real estate, school loans, etc.   Calculate how much they are paying on a monthly basis, then compare to the pay stub they provided to you.  Does it add up?  If it doesn’t, proceed with caution.  

Employment Verification

If you are concerned about the pay stub’s validity, verify your candidate’s employment status.  You can contact the employer directly, or use a third party background verification service such as Corra Group, to contact the employer and verify job title, current job standing (is the tenant laid off, and they handed you an old pay stub?) as well as salary information.   Employers are increasingly not releasing compensation information, but verifying the current employment status should be good enough for your purposes.

County Civil Lawsuit Searches

You might find it a good idea to check for County Civil Lawsuit Searches in the areas where your candidate has resided.  Check the Credit History Report header which will show your tenants previous addresses.  Check the courthouses in the area where they have lived, the Civil Higher and lower courts.   You’re looking to see if your candidate has been listed as a Plaintiff in any civil matters.  That means the tenant has filed a case.  If they are listed as a plaintiff in several cases, proceed with caution.  You may be the next defendant.   If the tenant is listed as defendant, check out court records and find out why the subject is a defendant.  Was it another apartment management company?   It’s good to know what you are dealing with before the property is rented.

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