Most landlords know that screening potential tenants will reduce the likelihood of renting to a “problem tenant.” What they may not know is that it also helps to reduce and prevent crime in the entire neighborhood. By doing complete tenant screenings, landlords can weed out those tenants who have a criminal background, a history of violence, have bad credit history, or have a background of loud and noisy behavior – all of which can be predictors for future crime. Here is how your neighborhood will benefit from screening tenants:
- Criminal checks can keep unsavory characters out of the neighborhood. Landlords generally perform criminal and/or background checks on prospective tenants to make sure they’re not renting to those who have been convicted of a serious crime, or who has a history of noisy or violent acts in a previous rental home. Although some criminals may try to hide their past, a comprehensive criminal and background check will reveal their history and a landlord can then choose to reject their application in order to keep them from living in the neighborhood.
- Screening helps prevent high rental turnover. By screening their prospective tenants and choosing only the most qualified renters, landlords are preventing high rental turnover by matching their property to a tenant’s specific needs. Lowering this turnover creates a closer sense of community since renters who stay longer tend to get involved in the neighborhood and get to know their neighbors.
- Always ask for valid photo identification during the screening process. Doing so will not only verify that the person is who he says he is, but will help reveal whether he has stolen another person’s identity (perhaps to hide his own criminal background). Also ask for past utility bills to make sure the addresses match, and also request that the potential tenant give any prior names they’ve used in the past.