Sometimes a tenant prospect comes along who tries to avoid the usual screening process, and there is some sort of circumstance that tempts you to accept his or her request. Perhaps the tenant is offering to pay six months' rent up front, or perhaps you've been waiting for a while for a tenant and this person wants to move in immediately. Whatever the circumstances, NEVER rent to someone without going through the full screening process.
There are many reasons to screen tenants. It isn't just to make sure that they can afford the rent, so someone offering to pay big sums up front shouldn't dissuade you from a full screening process. Here are a few reasons that screening is still important, no matter what:
- Some tenants are trying to cover up histories of bankruptcy filings. And we aren't talking about a legitimate Chapter 11 bankruptcy where someone just got a little over his head and needed some help. That sort of person is pretty common in the rental market. What we're talking about here is someone who habitually abuses the bankruptcy process. This sort of person files frivolous bankruptcy after frivolous bankruptcy to escape debt as a normal course of business. This can be a nightmare for a landlord, because a bankruptcy filing immediately puts a stay on any eviction proceeding until you can get an attorney to get the stay lifted.
- Some tenants are trying to cover up criminal backgrounds. While a non-violent drug offense for carrying a little pot as a college student may not be a big deal, sometimes you turn up people who were convicted of making meth in a rental property, or who are on the sexual predators list. These are tenants that you want to avoid for obvious reasons.
- Some tenants are covering up a long history of evictions. They hope that you'll jump on their offer of three months' rent in advance to avoid the background check, and then they won't pay anything after the three months are over. That few months of rent up front doesn't feel much better when you're fighting to evict a bad tenant a few months later.
- Some tenants are just trying to hide their identity. Perhaps they're engaged in identity theft (a serious crime), which would flag on a background check if someone has filed a claim of stolen identity on their credit report. These people are hoping you won't check their credit so that they won't get caught.
These are just a few examples. The short answer is that it's just never a good idea to rent to someone without conducting a full background check. No matter what the circumstances, always run the check, and refuse to rent to anyone who won't accept it.
If you are tired of dealing with these issues and just want to hire a group of professionals to deal with all of this for you, give us a call or send us a message through our web site. We will be more than happy to assist you.