As a property owner, you want to rent to reliable tenants with a strong sense of responsibility. Usually, the best way to find them is to interview applicants to see what kind of feel you get from them. This, in conjunction with studying their credit report, talking to past landlords and employers will usually give you a pretty good idea of what to expect. However, this can be a time-consuming process. Yes, you can hire someone to do this, but doing so has consequences as well as benefits. Here are the pros and cons of hiring a tenant screening service.
Pros of Hiring A Tenant Screening Service
As we mentioned above, conducting background checks can be a labor-intensive proposition. You’ll have to pull credit reports, talk to past landlords, contact employers, verify references and chase down public records. You can actually follow this tenant screening guide we recommend. In business to conduct this specific activity, tenant-screening companies have all of this down to a science. Where it might take you the better part of a day or two to get all of this accomplished, tenant-screening services can do it in a fraction of the time.
Because of this efficiency, you can get back to your applicants more quickly with a decision. This helps you keep good tenants interested. Most people actively looking for a place to live are likely to continue their search while waiting to hear back from you. In the interim, they could get approved for another place and you’ll miss out on a good tenant.
When you outsource tenant screening, you can be assured every application is scrutinized in exactly the same fashion. Further, these companies are well familiar with the rules of the Fair Housing Act and can be counted upon to conduct investigations in an equitable manner for each and every applicant. Additionally, the likelihood of errors is reduced because the investigators are considerably more experienced at doing them than you are likely to be. Read here for the main things to look for when screening tenants.
Cons of Hiring A Tenant Screening Service
Along with all of those advantages, you’re placing an important aspect of your business in the hands of someone else. In other words, you’re relying upon another person’s judgment, rather than your own.
As with every other situation in which you contract a service, you’re trading your money for your time. This adds another layer of cost to your business model, which can reduce your cash flow. To make a sound decision in this regard, you’ll have to determine whether the expense of the company pencils out against the amount of time you’d expend conducting the research yourself.
With a tenant screening service, applicants are basically reduced to the words and numbers they put on paper. Because the screener never actually meets the subject of the investigation, extenuating circumstances won’t come into play. Prospects will be evaluated purely by the numbers. In some cases, this means an otherwise solid tenant might well slip through the cracks.
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