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Better Screening = Better Tenants

Aug 17, 2007
Do you want to rent your home, but are scared that you will get a renter who is a fraud? While your fears may be valid, there is a solution to this problem - better screening. Screening is the first process that starts once an individual shows interest towards your property and sends you an application. There have been hundreds of cases where malicious tenants have duped landlords. The tenants get this opportunity when the landlords are careless about screening the candidate's application file properly.

Screening the details of an application will give the landlords enough clues to decide whether to rent the house to the applicant or not. While screening an application, the landlord should pay special attention to the following details that are mentioned in the application:

Social Security Number: This is the most effective tool to find out the authenticity of a person. However, imposters may copy someone else's number, or they omit that section. This should be the first alarm sign, and the landlord should make sure that no matter what the circumstances, the social security number should be quoted, which the landlord should check with government authorities.

Name: This is another device used by fraudulent people to deceive landlords. Often wrong names are supplied to the landlord by carrying out some unusual name arrangements. Unusual name arrangements, such as the names of well-known personalities like Magic Johnson or Tiger Woods, or odd sounding names coupled with common names, are usually used.

Employment details: There are many people who supply wrong information regarding their employment. For example, misspelled job titles or wrong information about one's salary structure are given. A handyman, for instance, may not earn over $50,000 a year. Also check out for symbols like cents or decimals inserted while writing the amount. Or, the years of employment does not seem to correlate with the applicant's age. The other types of deceptive employment details are the omission or copied net/gross income, or the supplementary income exceeding the net income. If during the follow up with the employer of the candidate, the employer answers on a cell phone or through an answering machine without identifying the company, this may be a sign of fraud, requiring investigating the employment status of the candidate more thoroughly.

Bank Account: Another foolproof way of checking a candidate is through the banking details that he/she has given in the application form. However, fraudulent people often omit or quote copied bank account numbers, or provide a reference number that is abbreviated or has strange symbols. If you spot something like this, further investigation is required. The other factors that should make you suspicious are credit references being written in the same sequence as on the credit report. Add to that a newly opened bank account, and payment accounts being exactly the same. And not to forget the references; the credit references quoted are of unknown companies or of closed accounts, or the references denying knowing the candidate, and finally, if there is significantly more credit than debit in the account.

Some other things that should sound alarm bells in your mind are: Wrong spellings, or use of P.O. Box for reference; additional residents not sharing the same surname; the first four credit card digits not corroborating with the issuing bank's I.D. number; the phone number and area code not correlating with the address given; or if the nearest relative is a professional, like a doctor or lawyer (this is usually done to establish more credibility).

Always remember, no one can cheat you if you are careful enough to conduct a thorough screening, along with asking for credit, criminal and eviction reports. Sound renting decision is based on all these factors, and better screening means better tenants, and better tenants means peace of mind.
About the Author
Get more Real Estate Investing Tips and free advice from http://www.ezlandlordforms.com. We offer Rental and Lease Agreements for landlords. We are the only online document system for landlords.
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