Property Management Blog

Understanding Property Management Background Screening

PMI Signature - Sunday, March 5, 2017

One of the many responsibilities performed by good property management companies is protecting the client-owner’s investment.  There are a few ways in which these firms accomplish this with the most common being a rigorous screening process.  Depending on the number of properties that they manage, some companies will process dozens of applicants during their work week.

The Impact of a Bad Economy

Every applicant should undergo a rigorous screening process in order to be approved as a tenant for any rental property.  Only then are they allowed sign a lease and move into the property they are renting.  Ironically, a bad economy typically sees a significant growth in the number of property owners who decide to rent out their properties.  At the same time, there is a considerable amount of growth in the number of individuals and families who have to walk away from their homes and are forced to lease or rent.

Rigorous Screening is a Must

A good property management company uses a rigorous screening process prior to offering someone a lease.  While there are a number of reasons for using a rigorous screening process, the following are the most important:

Discovering false identities – Along with providing false information, some prospective tenants will provide identification information that is completely false and even provide documentation to prove they are who they say they are.  Conversely, the best property management companies are quick to discover these falsifications.

Identifying the “professional” tenant – This is a large concern and worrisome trend for property management companies and investors as well.  A “professional” tenant is an individual who not only scams the property owner but the system as well.  Once they have moved into a property, they will:

  • file invalid complaints regarding how poor living conditions are

  • stop paying rent almost immediately

  • tie up court cases month after month without paying any rent during that time

Basically, the professional tenant is nothing more than a very talented scam artist.

Identifying false information – While false information is readily identified by property managers in most cases, it occurs all too often.  It’s unfortunate, but most landlords are ill equipped and lack the experience to catch this.

Protecting the property owner and the tenant – Another key reason for having a thorough screening process is because they often turn up information of a criminal nature.  It is not uncommon for property management firms to turn down applications based on discovering criminal information such as domestic violence charges, drug dealing convictions, and the occasional sexual predator.

The background check is one of the best ways for property management companies to protect their clients and their investments.  Keep this in mind when you are shopping for a company to manage your rental properties.

Thus, it is important to have stringent filters in place so that such ‘professional tenants’ are caught in time, adding value to your services and protecting the investor’s property.

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