If you’re a landlord, are you always aware who you’re renting to? In some cases, a potential tenant could appear friendly and reserved upfront, but how do you know this isn’t an act? A potential tenant, just like a job candidate with a tweaked resume, might act unassuming for your trust to show that a background check isn’t necessary – they’re responsible enough. But at some point, those tenants without a background check start to get loud – loud fights that involve calls to the police and weekend parties – or, become too quiet. While being too quiet isn’t always a bad thing – it eliminates phone calls to the police in most cases – do you know, as a landlord, what’s going on in the apartment?
In Albuquerque, recently, tenants who hadn’t been background checked properly were found to be growing marijuana plants in their rental house and selling the product. Aside from the health hazard mentioned in the article about spores from the plant, the tenants had caused speculation in the neighborhood. Not so much because of noise issues, however, but because of the amount of traffic coming to the house. As mentioned in the article, cars would pull up into the driveway and then leave soon after.
In general, a background check for a potential tenant should cost from $25 to $50, with the potential tenant footing the bill or as part of a modest security deposit. Renting is much like employment, in which an apartment building or area of properties should be harmonious without significant discord. Tenants should be able to pay their rent on time, hence why proof of employment is often asked with a rental application, but they should also prove they have a positive past rental and criminal history. While a landlord can’t outright not hire a former criminal, the situation and the past crimes, as well as the ability to pay bills, should be taken into context.