Screening Tip Property Management
Written by David Lowrey, Owner of Stress Free Property Management
I’ve literally processed and screened thousands of rental applications over the years as a Tampa Property Manager. What I discovered after a few years is that credit and criminal background check companies do not update their database in a timely manner. In other words, there could be civil, criminal, and evictions filed in a county the applicant lives in that will not show on the credit and criminal background check that you pull.
Obviously, this can be a serious problem. As I tell my leasing agent, rental applicants don’t suddenly wake up one day and become irresponsible. It shows us in every aspect of your life. However, sometimes you are trying to rent a lower income home, where your applicant pool is not that great. Clearly as a Tampa property management company (or any landlord), you want to avoid someone with a recent eviction or new criminal activity.
What we started doing years ago is checking the county clerk of court records online for any county they list on their rental application. As I mentioned, most if not all background check companies are not updating all county records in the country on a weekly or monthly basis. We check the clerk of court, before we even run the background checks.
Keep in mind that the clerk of court only shows records according to a name or address. So, you must cross reference with the rental application. This only takes a few minutes but will save you a ton of pain and suffering occasionally. I’ve seen repeatedly recent evictions and criminal activity get missed, or not updated in electronic credit and criminal background checks. Not to mention, you will also find evictions that were filed and not completed for some reason or are currently ongoing. All this is extremely useful information when you have a number of rental applicants you are considering, and the property is in a lower income or blue-collar area.
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