Excerpted from Millionacres by Tara Mastroeni

As a landlord, it’s absolutely crucial to conduct a tenant background check before you sign any leases or allow anyone to live in your rental property. If you’re newer to real estate investing and aren’t sure what a tenant background check entails, this guide will cover everything you need to know.

Below is a guide to what a tenant background check is, what’s usually included in this type of background check, and what you should know before starting the process. Armed with this knowledge, you should have a better idea of whether you can follow through with this task on your own or if you need to bring in outside help.

What is a tenant background check?

At its core, a tenant background check is a method of screening potential tenants. Typically, every applicant who fills out and submits a rental application will undergo the screening process as a way to help the landlord decide which potential tenant is the best fit for their unit. Though every landlord has their own screening criteria, usually, this process involves at least a criminal background check, a credit check, and verification of employment.

From a landlord’s perspective, resident screening is absolutely crucial. It almost goes without saying that you’ll want to know if any potential tenant has had trouble paying their bills in the past. You’ll also want to know if any of them have faced eviction. Put simply, finding out this information before you sign a lease agreement could make all the difference in whether you end up in landlord-tenant court at some point in the future.
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