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Tenant credit check

How do I check for tenant credit before I decide to rent the house to him/her? What information do I need to obtain from the potential tenant? and where do I go check for his/her credit worthiness? Any advice and procedures would be appreciated. 
Thx. 

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February 08 2011 - Chandler
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[Promotion removed by Zillow moderator. Please see our  Good Neighbor Policy.]

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June 05
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June 03
Profile picture for joe hoffman17
When ever I am renting I like to run all my tenants through a tenant screening service. The tricky part about that is finding one that actually works and does what your looking for. I use [Hotlink removed by Zillow Moderator.] I also like the fact that they do "standalone" reports, like your credit report, if that's all you want to run. A lot of services don't offer singular reports, so like I said, its all about finding one that works for what you are looking to accomplish.

Aside from that, I have each tenant fill out an application form and charge them an application fee to cover the expense of the report. That way you aren't shelling out money left and right to turn their reports. Charging this fee and running their report may also weed out any potential "problem" tenants because they know once you run the report that it will show any past issues they have had.

Although I do like to use screening services to make my life a bit easier, I also think it's very important to sit down and have a chat with each tenant as well. I like to get a bit of my own read on them and once I do that and combine that with the reports I run, I should have a pretty good idea if they are qualified enough for me to rent to them or not.

All that being said, everyone has their own preferred methods so finding out what works best for you is the most important in my opinion. Just make sure you are always thorough when screening tenants because when you rent to a bad one, it can really become a nightmare.
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May 28
Profile picture for user1410655
This good neighbor policy renders all the posting useless, as it removes all the links to credit check sites. Defeat the purpose of discussion. What' the point?
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April 25
Profile picture for JitkaSykora
There are two ways of checking your applicant's credit:

1. If you are a small landlord or agent who checks applicant's credit only occasionally, you can use some online service. Your best bet would be [Hotlink removed by Zillow moderator.] because it includes a rental application and your tenants can pay for the screening directly. Criminal check is also included. You simply send a rental application and a screening request to your applicants, they authorize it electronically, and you get notified when it's done. All you need is the applicant's name and email. No need for a SSN or written authorization since the applicant takes care of it electronically. 

2. If you are a property management company and run credit checks on daily basis, you can work directly with any of the three credit bureaus. They will pay you a visit once a year to check if you comply with the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act). They will give you instructions on how to run credit checks but you will be able to type in the applicant's basic info and SSN and their system will provide you with a credit report.

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March 10
Profile picture for user5783083
I have found Experian connect.experian.com helpful... you get a full credit report and score and the best part is your applicants pay!
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June 03 2013
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February 07 2013
We use Mrlandlord.com for credit checks, and we use our local court system website for backgrounds check. You should have a rental application from the potential tenant that lists job history, income, rental history, references, and authorizes you to check their credit. 

We always verify employment and income. We also, try to check with the previous two landlords. Many renters do not have great credit, but I like to check there debt to income ratios to make sure they are capable of paying. 

It's very important not to discriminate and to have a set target criteria so that you can screen everyone equally. 
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September 07 2012
I like [Removed by Zillow Moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy.] .  They offer a full tenant credit report from the credit union with no paperwork or forms that you have to fax back and forth.  A lot of the other sites don't give you a full credit report.
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September 07 2012
I use CitiCredit.  You will need the tenant to sign giving you permission to have their private infomration in your possession.  I am in Texas, and do not know if this varies from state to state, but having someone's credit is a big responsibility.  Be sure you have all your documents in a row first, then use CitiCredit.  They have been good for me for over 5 years of management.

Thanks, Robyn the Realtor
Plano, Texas
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August 29 2012
Profile picture for eLeaseAgreement
To do a simple credit check you want to have your potential tenant fill out a rental agreement [Promotional hotlink removed by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy.] and for the criminal background check I believe you will have to go to the FBI website.
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August 06 2012
Profile picture for KristinWard
TVS is a good choice, they also run another site [hotlink removed by Zillow moderator] ]which has the same services. Both sites have a variety of other resources, however I like the color scheme and look of ATS better then TVS. 
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June 27 2012
I use a mortgage company
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July 14 2011
It sounds like you've never managed before. I would highly recommend contacting a good Phoenix based property management company. Preferably, one that isn't going out of business. For those Realtors, that know what company I'm talking about... The fact is, if you've never evicted a tenant, the measly 7-8% you'd pay in management costs would be nothing compared to trying to pay an attorney to evict a tenant or trying to do it yourself and end up having the tenant stay there longer than what a property management company could evict him for.

From my experience, owners always contact us when it's too late. By then, we don't even want to help them out because they thought they could do it themselves. That's my honest thought on having an inexperienced owner try to manage. Not to offend anyone, but I don't like to create smoking mirrors. 
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February 08 2011
Along with credit, you should check criminal background and do a prior eviction search. TVS offer these options. Also verify all rental history and employment. Get as much information you can on your rental application. Your rental application should also state any restrictions such as pet policies, for example, "no Pit Bulls, Rottweiliers and so on". You should get an application from every person (adult) that is going to be living in the home.

Items you may want to include on application:
- Full Name
- SSN
- D/L & State
- DOB
- Email
- Phone #s
- Rental History with landlord names and numbers
- Prior evictions?
- Criminal history
- Employment Information
- Bankruptcy?
- List of all occupants
- All pets, type, weight, breed
- List of vehicles

If you are new to this, you may want to consider using real estate agent to list your rental and process the applications.

As a landlord, get very familiar with the Arizona Landlord and Tenant Act. Also be familiar with fair housing rules.
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February 08 2011
Dear Snow:

Yes, I agree Tenant Verification Services (TVS) is good for checking potential tenants.

Also, be aware of the Tenant/Landlord Bill of Rights as published by the State of Arizona and the Department of Real Estate:
[Removed by Zillow Moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy.]

Jeff Masich
Arizona Homes and Land
HomeSmart
Scottsdale
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February 08 2011
Go to [Removed by Zillow Moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy.] it's a pretty good website. Check out their "Every Landlord's Legal Guide" it has great inforamtion.
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February 08 2011
 
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