Top Tenant Screening Myths That Landlords Should Know

Top Tenant Screening Myths That Landlords Should Know

Any city with large universities is going to have a large percentage of renters. That's why Bryan/College Station is a great place to own rental property.

As a landlord, you are likely to see a lot of applicants but not all of them are going to be up to your standards. To avoid bad tenants, make sure you know these common tenant screening myths:

High Credit Scores = Good Tenants

One tenant screening myth is that a tenant with a good credit score will be a great tenant. Seeing a high credit score during the tenant screening process is essential, but this doesn't mean they are the best option.

Just because a tenant pays their bills on time doesn't mean they will take care of your property or be quiet during late hours. Get a better sense of the renter by contacting previous landlords and meeting the applicant in person.

Landlords Are Responsible for Credit Check Fees

In most states, landlords have the legal right to charge the applicant a fee for conducting a credit check. This fee covers the credit check itself along with the energy and time put into the process.

The fee generally runs from $30 up to $50. Certain states enforce a maximum screening fee.

In Texas, the credit check fee is usually calculated into the application fee.

Additionally, landlords are not required to accept a credit report that is presented by an applicant. It's up to you if you want to accept this document or run your own background check.

You Can Deny an Applicant Without an SSN

Another tenant screening myth is that you can deny an applicant that doesn't have a social security number (SSN). An SSN or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) is needed to request a credit report.

However, there are some applicants that might not be assigned a number. Those residing in the United States for only a period of time won't have a social security number.

These are generally employees in the country on a visa or foreign exchange students. It's important to find other screening methods for these prospective tenants.

If you deny an applicant because they don't have these numbers, you violate Fair Housing Laws and possibly other landlord-tenant laws.

Landlords Should Go With Their Gut

You might meet applicants and believe they will be good tenants based on your conversations. You can't always trust that a person is who they say they are.

Even if your gut intuition is right 100% of the time, it's not a wise financial decision to forgo tenant screening.

Never assume that an applicant provided accurate and up-to-date information on their application. Tenant screening allows you to verify the following:

  • Income
  • Financial history
  • Criminal record
  • Eviction history

First impressions aren't everything in this industry so always opt for a background check for every applicant.

Tenant Screening Myths to Know

In this tenant screening guide, you've learned the most common myths about background checks. Now, you can avoid making these mistakes when screening potential tenants.

We understand that tenant screening is a lot of work. Our property management team can complete this task and others for you. Contact us today to learn how we help landlords like you.