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Should Landlords bother doing a Tenant Background Check?

As a landlord, tenants can cause some major headaches that are best avoided. For example, some tenants may skip out on rent, some tenants might damage your property, just to mention a few. Basically, a lot can go wrong with tenants, as they are strangers with only rental contractual obligations binding you alongside them as a landlord. 

This article will highlight how important it is for landlords to do a background check for prospective tenants so that they can get all the data they need to get to know these tenants better and avoid any headaches.

What Is a Tenant Background Check?

At the heart of it, a tenant background check is a method of screening potential renters. This is done by getting data driven insight into their pasts to find out their history as renters. This history is then used as a predictive tool to gauge how good they will be as renters. 

A good source of tenant background checks are credit bureaus, like Equifax, and court record  databases. A criminal record check will provide information on the prospective tenant’s criminal history, felonies, charges, and any other court records tied to the tenant. Credit bureaus, on the other hand, provide information on the credit score of prospective tenants and when combined with the criminal history of prospective tenants, it helps to paint a complete picture that can then be used in decision making. 

How to run a Tenant Credit & Background Check?

That’s simple! The prospective renters fill a rental application, and the information you will need from the tenant to run a background check is:

  • The legal full name of the applicant
  • The applicant’s current address
  • The date of birth of the applicant
  • The applicant’s Social Security Number (required for criminal records check)

Once these fields are filled, these details are fed into the credit bureaus and national criminal check database and a comprehensive background check will be produced. 

To run a tenant background check in Canada, you can use SingleKey, one of the fastest background checks in Canada – ready in only 5 minutes.

What are the main Reasons for running a Background Check on Prospective Renters?

These reasons are as follows;

1) Knowing the Financial Situation of the Prospective Tenants

This is very important to know as a landlord, as this knowledge helps you to gauge the tenant’s ability to pay the rent. 

The credit report allows landlords to see how much debt is owed by the prospective tenant, what their monthly debt payments are, if they are behind on payments as well as any recent collections or bankruptcies. 

All this information will help paint a complete picture that will make it easier to decide on whether to move forward with the tenant.

2) Knowing the Criminal Background of the Prospective Tenant

At the end of the day you do not want to rent your home to a tenant with a violent criminal history as you will have to deal with that tenant for the remainder of the lease. This is especially important if you are renting part of your home to them. By running a National Criminal Records Search you can have peace of mind knowing that you are not letting a convicted criminal into your home who may cause serious headaches during the lease, and who may be downright dangerous to deal with. 

3) Knowing the Eviction History of Prospective Tenants

There is a popular saying that goes: “those who don’t know the past are bound to repeat it.” An eviction is not something you would want to repeat, this we can assure you. It is usually a lengthy, stressful and costly process. Most background checks will include a past eviction search. 

In Conclusion

It pays to do your proper due diligence on your tenant by running a background check. It will help landlords get to know their prospective tenants and avoid any potential troublesome tenants. These checks are easy, fast and affordable, with prices per background check ranging from $20 to $40. 


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