What Is a Landlord (Tenant) Background Check?

Before finalizing a tenant lease agreement, a landlord (tenant) background check should first be done. A landlord (tenant) background check is the process of looking into a prospective tenant’s criminal, employment, tenancy, and credit history. A number of documents are necessary to be created for your landlord (tenant) background check to be completed. Some of the essential documents that you should have are the tenancy application form, previous tenancy records, reference list, and approval of the landlord (tenant) background check. The scope of a landlord (tenant) background check varies per property which is why there are different ways on how you can execute your desired processes. However, there is standard information that is commonly found within the bounds of a landlord (tenant) background check which we will discuss below.

Things to Consider When Planning a Detailed Landlord (Tenant) Background Check

Just like any other business procedures, you need to make sure that your landlord (tenant) background check is well-thought-of. Prioritize all the key points that you need to record and document as a business entity. Doing this can help you be properly guided during the listing of the items that you need to put together so you can have a successful background check activity. Your considerations can enable you to realize a process that can be very beneficial for your organization and all of your stakeholders. Some of the things that you have to look into when planning a detailed landlord (tenant) background check are as follows:

1. The Questions That You Will Ask to the Prospective Tenant

Prepare all the questions that you want to ask. You can use a checklist or a draft so you can have a guide or a reference that can showcase all of the details that you would like to know about the tenant. Narrow down your questions only to the most necessary so you can remove those that do not really add value to the landlord (tenant) background check. Make sure to use proper language when verbalizing your questions so to not offend, intimidate, or overwhelm your prospective tenant.

2. The Entities That You Will Work With Within the Duration of the Background Check

Some property owners and/or landlords tend to execute a landlord (tenant) background check by themselves. However, this should not always be the case especially if you are capable of funding a thorough background check. Know the entities that you can work with. There are already legal tenant screening services that you can pay for. Make sure that you and the team that you will be working with are aligned when it comes to the identification of background checking responsibilities that each of you are accountable for.

3. The Purpose of the Landlord (Tenant) Background Check

Know the reason why you need to implement a landlord (tenant) background check. Do you want to know the credit history of your tenant to make sure that he or she has the ability to pay the rent? Do you want to ensure that there are no criminal records that can potentially threaten the safety of your property if you will accept a prospective tenant? There can be one or more reason/s on why you want to have a landlord (tenant) background check. Knowing the purpose and objective of the activity can enable you to give focus on the things that you have to accomplish based on your set mission.

7 Steps for Developing an Effective Landlord (Tenant) Background Check

Before you let a potential tenant sign a tenancy agreement, it is very important for you to first consider the execution of a landlord (tenant) background check. Are you a start-up rental business and you have no idea on how to conduct a landlord (tenant) background check? Or do you just want to update or better your existing landlord (tenant) background check procedures? If you need help with the preparation and implementation of the specific endeavor, you came to the right place. Here are the steps that you can take if you already want to develop an effective landlord (tenant) background check:

Step 1: Prepare All the Documents Needed for the Landlord (Tenant) Background Check

Plan the entirety of the landlord (tenant) background check. Ensure that you have all the documents that you will be needing and that you have prepared all the steps that you need to take so you can have a successful background run. Organize the landlord (tenant) background check procedure based on your priorities as well as the circumstances that you need to face and consider.

Step 2: Make Your Tenant Answer a Rental Application Form

It is essential for you to first get the necessary information from the tenant himself or herself. You have to require your prospective tenant to provide answers to all the questions that you have prepared. Ask for the basic information of the tenant especially those that are related to residency, standard personal information, employment and income, and credit.

Step 3: Set a Personal Interview With the Individual Applying for Tenancy

For additional information, ask the tenant to personally come to the property. This can help you verify a number of information that the prospective tenant has listed in the rental application form. Doing the interview can also help you get the inquiries and concerns of the tenant which can make the background check become more interactive.

Step 4: Begin Your Background Check With the Help of a Landlord (Tenant) Background Check Template

Once you have already compiled all of the details that you would like to know about the person who is applying for a tenancy, you can begin the actual steps of the landlord (tenant) background check. Look if all of the items that the tenant specified are standard and aligned with one another. A simple read through can already result to listing a number of items that you think are questionable, if there are any. Use a landlord (tenant) background check template to help you format the document that you will use for your observation documentation accordingly.

Step 5: Work With a Verified and Credible Tenant Screening Service Provider

As we have mentioned above, implementing a landlord (tenant) background check is possible. However, it will be better if you can rely on entities who are experts with what they are doing. Just make sure that you will check the legalities of the activities of the third parties whom you will be working with for the background check.

Step 6: Contact the References Provided by the Tenant

Call the employer, previous landlord, and other references given by the tenant. It will be best if your application form will specify the entities who need to be the references of an individual so you can have a clear classification and identification of the people who you would like to talk to for background checking purposes.

Step 7: Ensure the Completion of Your Landlord (Tenant) Background Check Plans of Action

Look back at all the steps that you have accomplished before compiling all the results of your landlord (tenant) background check activities. Once you believe that the procedure has been implemented fully and completely, gather all of the data that you were able to get from different sources of information. Make your assessment based on the gathered results.

Advantages of Having a Comprehensive Landlord (Tenant) Background Check

It is your job as a landlord to make sure that you will get to know the people who will rent your property. Being able to review necessary details or information about the prospective tenant before the actual tenancy can help you become more particular with your screening processes and efforts. Do not think that your time, energy, and efforts will be wasted as there are a lot of ways on how you can benefit from having a landlord (tenant) background check. Some of the advantages of having a comprehensive landlord (tenant) background check include the following:

A landlord (tenant) background check can help you focus on the things that you need to consider when looking into a tenancy application: 59% of landlords think that their tenant’s steady income is far more important in comparison to their credit history (source: mysmartmove). Different landlords put different weights on the items that they will find out based on the landlord (tenant) background check results. With this, it is important for you to be able to know your priorities when it comes to assessing a tenant. Hence, having an original landlord (tenant) background check can be very beneficial as this document can present the specific items that you will be needing for your tenant assessment and screening.A landlord (tenant) background check can enable you to maintain the safety and security of your property: Letting a harmful person in within your property can be very dangerous not only for the image of your business but also for the security of your other tenants. A landlord (tenant) background check can make it easier for you to make sure that you can protect the intentions of your business as you try to maintain the safety of the people who are renting your property. Being particular with the people that you accept as tenants can give you an upper hand as you can lessen the potential of disputes due to unacceptable behavior, payment issues, and the like.A landlord (tenant) background check can make it easier for you to build a trustworthy relationship with your prospective tenant: If you will have a background check, you can reveal issues and concerns that involved the prospective tenant. Through this, you can have the ability to make informed and mindful decisions about the tenancy application of the potential tenant who is under the landlord (tenant) background check. If the results of the background check seem to be in favor of the tenant, you can properly begin the lease term based on the specifications of the rental agreement. These instances can then result to building a healthy landlord-to-tenant relationship.

Dos and Don’ts for Making the Best Landlord (Tenant) Background Check

Your landlord (tenant) background check should be done in an excellent manner as this can fully-impact your decision on whether to accept a prospective tenant or not. We have prepared a number of tips that you can incorporate in your landlord (tenant) background check development and implementation so you can get the optimum advantage from the process and the document that you will use. Listed below are a few of the guidelines that you can refer to once you decide to make the best landlord (tenant) background check that your property rental business can utilize.


1. Do List the Minute Details of the Landlord (Tenant) Background Check

Writing a tenant (landlord) letter of recommendation can be easy if you have screened your tenants to begin with. You have to be specific when making a landlord (tenant) background check especially when it comes to identifying it’s purpose. Discuss all the minute details of the process and the documents that you will use so you can properly guide the entities who are involved with the execution of your landlord (tenant) background check’s action plans.

2. Do Make Your Landlord (Tenant) Background Check Well-Rounded, Comprehensive, Relevant, and Necessary

Never settle for a mediocre landlord (tenant) background check. Update, modify, and better the specific document up until you are already satisfied with its quality. You have to make sure that your landlord (tenant) background check is highly-usable so you can make the most out of its availability. Learn how to gather necessary tenant information in an efficient manner as this can enable you to have a comprehensive presentation of the data that you will use for relevant background check activities.

3. Do Look Into the Scope and Limitations of Your Landlord (Tenant) Background Check 

The range of information that you can get from your prospective tenant during the landlord (tenant) background check must be limited. Organize your thoughts and the things that you would like to know so you can come up with a systematic landlord (tenant) background check. Knowing the limits of the activity can also allow you to consider the necessity of your questions in relation to the objective of the background checking.


1. Don’t Be Biased, Unfair, and/or Discriminatory When Making a Landlord (Tenant) Background Check

Your landlord (tenant) background check results should be used accordingly and appropriately. Never discriminate a tenant just because of personal issues and a subjective mindset. As an example, you do not have the right to reject a tenant just because he or she has a different religion or set of beliefs when compared to yours. You should be unbiased as you execute the landlord (tenant) background check as any acts of discrimination can reflect to your business negatively.

2. Don’t Resort to the Usage of a Generic Landlord (Tenant) Background Check 

Even if we suggest you to use a pre-formatted landlord (tenant) background check template, this does not mean that we want you to use it as is or right away. Never rely on a template alone if you want to conduct a landlord (tenant) background check. Make sure that you will consider the information that you need to know as well as the background check efforts that you are comfortable to execute. Being able to come up with a landlord (tenant) background check that is suitable with the requirements and needs of your property can help you to successfully implement all of your call-to-actions related to the subject matter.

3. Don’t Include Any Unnecessary or Irrelevant Information in Your Landlord (Tenant) Background Check 

Do not ask any personal information to your potential tenant just because you would like to. Follow the regulations about this matter so that you will not face any legal consequences. Being particular with the information that you will get from your tenant can also help you to veer away from possible misunderstandings and disputes due to abuse of power and circumstance. Allow your landlord (tenant) background check to be as relevant and as usable as possible by ensuring that only necessary information are written in it.

May it be a room rental (roommate) agreement or a single occupancy rental agreement that you will make, ensure that your potential tenants are properly screened before you accept their tenancy application. Develop a landlord (tenant) background check now. Use our editable templates and printable samples as your references. We believe that the document development guides and the discussion above are already enough for you to come up with an exemplary landlord (tenant) background check which is why you should not hesitate to create one at this very moment.