The RSI blog was created as a convenient way to share information and ideas that pertain to the multifamily housing industry and discuss employment screening best practices. As a full-service background screening company, Rental Services, Inc. knows the information we provide is key in your success, that’s why No One Checks Them Closer!
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT SCREENING COMPANY….
As with most things, there are many options available when
it comes to screening possible tenants. Today landlords have even more options then
ever before and the results and effort required can range greatly from a good
ol’ gut check to having tenants supply their own credit reports or digging a
little deeper and having a screening company verify application information.
You may feel overwhelmed and unsure about how to get the best information for the least amount of money.
Having been in the industry for 29 years, RSI employees have
seen it all. We have heard countless horror stories about how massively other
screening measures have failed a given landlord. And while we always say “go
with your gut” the advice is constantly balanced with the addendum “be sure to check
Here is a step by step guide to accomplishing exactly that:
1.)Do not put
all the power in the tenant’s hands!
Many new screening companies offer
tenant driven background screening. The setup process is less ominous, however,
as a landlord you are completely dependant on the applicant submitting their
request for information. You do not want to miss out on other potential renters
while waiting for an applicant to move forward on a background check.
your reports are accurate.
Online screening companies that are
not able to provide manual interpretation are going to result in screening
reports with the most inaccuracies. To clarify this point, imagine this
scenario: Your applicant’s name is John Smith. There are thousands of John
Smiths with the same birthday as your applicant. When you submit a request for
a background check on John Smith the computer pulls information from a database
which includes reports for any John Smith with that birthday. The computer is
not able to weed out the information that does not apply to your John Smith. A screening company
with a trained investigative staff is
able to pull through those records and report only the applicable
information…and that is exactly what you want.
There are four
major musts every screening report should include:
Security verification insures that your applicant is actually who they
claim to be. Make sure that you are also checking valid photo identification
and that the information on your tenant’s application matches the
identification provided (name, birthday, and address if applicable). Criminal Record searches (including sex
offender records) can be either state specific or nation-wide. Make sure you
get information about limitations in the nation-wide database for your
particular state. Colorado
records, for example, are more accurate through the state specific database. A
nation-wide criminal search would not provide complete records for Colorado residents—don’t
waste your time or money with weak searches! Eviction Record searches are very important for one basic reason:
If a possible tenant has had one eviction, they are more likely to have
another. The eviction process is the worst case scenario for a landlord; taxing
to your finances, time and property. Always avoid renting to a previously
evicted tenant. Finally, be sure to include credit information in your
screening. A Credit Report will paint
a complete picture about an applicant’s ability to pay rent and their history for
paying on time. Additionally, we
recommend that you (or your screening company if they have the capacity and
training to do so) always make reference phone calls to verify employment and
rental history with previous landlords.
Should you have a question about
report results or an issue during the screening process, you will want to be
able to reach a resolution quickly and with positive results. Hire a screening
company with a good customer service record and well trained personnel who are
easily reachable at a moments notice.
By choosing the right screening company, and screening for
accurate and useful information, you can be confident that you are welcoming
the best possible resident into your rental property.
The 2019 legislative session has started and depending on which state you conduct business in, there is a lot going on. Many local governments have started to introduce bills that may negatively impact the multi-family housing industry.
Colorado has introduced two bills with a third one on the way.
Colorado House Bill 19-1118 addresses the time period to cure a lease violation.
The current law requires a landlord to give the tenant 3 days to cure a lease violation. The most common violation is failure to pay rent. When the tenant violates the lease agreement, you post them with a 3-day notice. If they don’t pay within the 3-day time frame the eviction process is started.
HB 19-1118 would change the 3-day rule to 14 days.
Depending on the lease agreement many landlords don’t post a 3-day notice until the 4th of the month. This puts them at a higher financial risk if this new law passes. The new time frame puts the landlord towards the end of the month before even sending the 3-day …
If you are
not paying attention to what’s going on with your state legislature, it’s time
to wake up and get in the game. Rent Control was passed in Oregon and there is
already talk about expanding it across the nation. Colorado moves closer to
passing rental application reform with HB19-1106 and will impact fees and
possibly time frames for criminal record usage. Recently the
state of Oregon became the first in the country to implement a statewide rent
control law. The new law prevents property owners from raising the annual rent
more then 7%. Many groups are looking at this as a quick solution to provide
affordable housing in markets all over the country. Rent control
is under serious consideration by law makers all over the United States. If
rent control legislation is passed everywhere it is currently being discussed
nearly 1/3 of the country’s rental housing would be impacted by rent control. Advocates
site California, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, and Washington DC, as