A couple of years ago, a single handshake was enough to seal a deal between a property manager or landlord and a prospective tenant. A tenant’s word was good enough to get him/her started on a new tenancy contract. Unfortunately, over the years, a significant number of tenants have progressively gone against their word, consequently irking and troubling their respective landlords or property managers. While some of them turn out to be petty or hardcore criminals, others fail to pay their rent as required or cause extensive property damage. Ultimately, due to such to such tenant tendencies, it became increasingly difficult to trust random tenants.

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FreeImages.com/Aleš Čerin

A tenant’s word of mouth simply doesn’t cut it anymore – one needs to carry out a comprehensive evaluation of each tenant, verifying facts from the non-facts. And that’s exactly how tenant verification began. Tenant verification service providers zero-in on prospective tenants, search for comprehensive information regarding their rental history and possible criminal records before making a decision on whether they are worthy of a contract or not.

So, how do these services work?

The set-up of tenant verification services is largely dependent on an organization’s framework and sequence of operations. With the internet empowering many businesses, most service providers have now switched to the web, delivering a bulk of their services through their respective websites. As a property owner or manager, all you need to do is feed the online portal with the relevant information and wait for the subsequent results. Some even do the search in real time and convey the results in about 1-2 minutes.

In addition to criminal and eviction records, the online systems also search for tenants’ credit histories. In the US, systems mainly obtain such information from Equifax or Experian Credit Bureau. For Canadians on the other hand, credit information is got from the Trans Union Credit Bureau.

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FreeImages.com/Dominik Gwarek

Although such systems are fairly good at digging up past records, you should strive to further protect yourself through additional verification checks. Contact previous landlords and property managers and inquire about you respective tenants’ mannerisms. This step will help you reveal any information which may not be already recorded in online databases.

To avoid discriminating against any applicant, ensure you comprehensively define all the conditions you’d expect your typical tenant to meet before you begin the actual verification process. However, remember to keep them realistic to avoid constant disappointments due to over-stringent conditions.