Legal Tenant Screening

Legal Items to Know about Tenant Screening

Whether you’re looking for a new apartment in PA, FL or TX, understand that any smart landlord will do an apartment background check for new tenants. They want to make sure they can trust you to pay rent on time and keep the place nice. Here are three things you need to know:

Apartment Background Checks

Landlords can check for criminal records and often bar people with them from renting. What if you have a record but don’t think this is a fair representation of who you are today. To begin with, be up front—ask if they have a policy against those with criminal records. If the answer is yes, that might save you applying where it’s likely you’ll be turned down. If you want to try and convince them to rent to you, consider getting letters of recommendation, and clearly presenting your case. And keep in mind that you aren’t necessarily begging here—if you’re a great tenant, this could be a win/win situation.

Second, they will do a credit check. If your credit is bad, consider the same approach—explain the situation, including any ongoing efforts to clean things up.

Lastly, background checks also involve checking for prior evictions. Here you might erroneously think you are safe because you’ve never been evicted. Problems can still arise if a past landlord has sued you, regardless of the outcome. That suit will likely show up on the background check. The remedy is again the same: divulge rather than hide, explain rather than shield.

The Landlord’s Perspective

The solutions here all have one idea in common: put yourself in the landlord’s shoes and ask this question: what does the landlord need to know to consider me even if there are problems with my background check? Be proactive, show you care and are transparent. With the right landlord, that can go along way to building trust.

An apartment background check doesn’t have to be an obstacle—but you need to think through what the landlord needs if you are asking them to alter their policy to accept you.