Rental properties are a tried-and-true investment strategy that provides passive income while giving you the option to sell when the time is right. Additionally, owning a rental property allows you to diversify your portfolio. That said, any real estate investment comes with risks, and your profitability is contingent on being able to attract and retain high-quality, dependable tenants.
A tenant background check is a critical piece when determining whether a prospective tenant is suitable. A thorough screening should provide a comprehensive look at the applicant, including everything from rental history to criminal record. This may not only save you thousands of dollars down the line, but also a lot of headaches.
Here are four reasons landlords should never skip tenant background checks:
Landlords are responsible for providing a safe place for renters to live. Whether you own a multifamily property or a condo unit, it is your duty to ensure that every new tenant is carefully vetted.
Renting to someone with a violent criminal history could get you embroiled in a legal nightmare if the tenant harms someone else at your property. By the same token, renting to a registered sex offender could potentially lead to a lawsuit if your property is located near a school, park, or areas frequented by children. Note that sex offenders are not protected under the Fair Housing Act, so landlords can turn down a registered sex offender and face no legal retribution.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on a number of different criteria, such as sex, religion, race, color, national origin, familial status, and disability. If you do not screen an applicant and end up denying the application, you may face legal issues from people who may claim the refusal to rent was discriminatory. A background check helps lay the groundwork for denied applications based upon merit.
Evictions are lengthy and costly processes. Tenants with poor past rental history and many evictions are more likely to fall behind on rent and damage the property. By running a background check, you can ensure that the applicant has a stellar payment history and minimize the chances of having to file eviction lawsuits against delinquent tenants down the road.
When a property manager cannot collect rent due to vacancy, real estate investors must account for the loss of income as well as utility bills and potential vacancy taxes levied on underutilized properties. In other words, vacancies can put a significant squeeze on investors’ profitability. While background checks may set you back a few bucks, it pays off hugely compared to costs associated with vacancy losses.
Are you ready to invest in real estate and see the value it can provide? RLG would love to help you! Call us today to learn more.