Tenant Screening

Tenant screening is a landlord’s first line of defense against destructive tenants who know how to effectively use the courts to avoid paying rent. Unfortunately, there are many tenants that have become pros in using the legal system and have already been evicted from several locations. They know what stall tactics to use so that they can live rent free for a longer period of time than someone who does not know how to work the system. If you screen them properly first you can possibly found out about their past and saved yourself a lot of time, stress and of course money.

A tenant screening service can’t say if a prospective tenant will be a good tenant instead, it tells the landlord if the tenant has a history of being a bad tenant or a person with various criminal records. As the saying goes, a Leopard does not change its spots, the same is too can be said of bad tenants. The reality is that if a one has a history of being a problem tenant, that behavior pattern is likely to continue. Using a screening service such as Dragnet Credit and Tenant Screening allows a landlord to make an educated decisions that is based on the information we provide, and will not only ease the mind of the landlord but if the truth be told all potential tenants benefit from our service just as much as landlords do. Current tenants will like the idea that their landlord will not rent to a person who is going to come in and be a nuisance, and potentially be involved in criminal activity.

Collecting the information is merely the beginning of the process: one of the problems a screening service next encounters is matching names on court dockets with names of prospective tenants they are investigating. Since court records do not include the defendant’s social security number or date of birth, common names can lead to false matches. Because of the possibility that a false match might result in a person unjustly being denied an apartment, Dragnet allows landlords using their service to provide rejected applicants with our phone number. By doing so, this allows a person a chance to clean up his record in the proper court house so he can get an apartment the next time.

For a mismatch on a common name, it is the responsibility of the landlord to go further in their investigation and allow the tenant to prove that eviction on the report does not belong to him. Simply the landlord can request further information from the tenant. Something simple such as presenting a utility bill mailed to the prior address would be all a tenant needs to do to prove that they were not living there at the time.

Dragnet likes to stress that we should be used in addition to, rather than in place of, a landlord’s standing screening procedure. A tenant that we show as being previously evicted maybe able to explain the circumstances and the landlord may than decide to rent to them.

Dragnet since 1998 has focus it attention on the State of Florida and have access to almost all the Florida counties court houses that way, if a tenant has an eviction action filed against him on a Monday, Dragnet will know about it on Tuesday, even before the tenant is looking for a new place to live.

Why Screen Potential Tenants?

Tenant screening is a landlord’s first line of defense against destructive tenants who know how to effectively use the courts to avoid paying rent. Unfortunately, there are many tenants that have become pros in using the legal system and have already been evicted from several locations. They know what stall tactics to use so that they can live rent free for a longer period of time than someone who does not know how to work the system. If you screen them properly first you can possibly found out about their past and saved yourself a lot of time, stress and of course money.

A tenant screening service can’t say if a prospective tenant will be a good tenant instead, it tells the landlord if the tenant has a history of being a bad tenant or a person with various criminal records. As the saying goes, a Leopard does not change its spots, the same is too can be said of bad tenants. The reality is that if a one has a history of being a problem tenant, that behavior pattern is likely to continue. Using a screening service such as Dragnet Credit and Tenant Screening allows a landlord to make an educated decisions that is based on the information we provide, and will not only ease the mind of the landlord but if the truth be told all potential tenants benefit from our service just as much as landlords do. Current tenants will like the idea that their landlord will not rent to a person who is going to come in and be a nuisance, and potentially be involved in criminal activity.

Collecting the information is merely the beginning of the process: one of the problems a screening service next encounters is matching names on court dockets with names of prospective tenants they are investigating. Since court records do not include the defendant’s social security number or date of birth, common names can lead to false matches. Because of the possibility that a false match might result in a person unjustly being denied an apartment, Dragnet allows landlords using their service to provide rejected applicants with our phone number. By doing so, this allows a person a chance to clean up his record in the proper court house so he can get an apartment the next time.

For a mismatch on a common name, it is the responsibility of the landlord to go further in their investigation and allow the tenant to prove that eviction on the report does not belong to him. Simply the landlord can request further information from the tenant. Something simple such as presenting a utility bill mailed to the prior address would be all a tenant needs to do to prove that they were not living there at the time.

Dragnet likes to stress that we should be used in addition to, rather than in place of, a landlord’s standing screening procedure. A tenant that we show as being previously evicted maybe able to explain the circumstances and the landlord may than decide to rent to them.

Dragnet since 1998 has focus it attention on the State of Florida and have access to almost all the Florida counties court houses that way, if a tenant has an eviction action filed against him on a Monday, Dragnet will know about it on Tuesday, even before the tenant is looking for a new place to live.

Is There A Nationwide Eviction Database?

Many large firms with their offices outside of Florida talk about National Tenant Eviction Databases which in our opinion is quite deceptive as eviction are filed with out social security numbers, drivers license, or date of birth. This make the task of checking eviction nationwide almost impossible at this time. To find an eviction one needs to know the counties that the applicant has live and then have access to that court house. It is important to point out that the only time an eviction will show up on a credit report if there was a count two judgment issued, which most landlords do not file for, as they only look for a count one eviction, for possession of the property.

When choosing to screen your tenants, make sure to find out if the screening service goes county by county to find possible evictions, especially when claims of a National Eviction Database are used.

Who Pays For Tenant Screening

Some landlords wonder who pays for the potential tenant’s screening process. There really is not set answer, but the standard residential rental market typically makes the prospective tenant pay the cost of the screening process and the application fee.

As with most other things, there are always some landlords or property managers that do things differently. Some charge the perspective tenant more (so instead of a $45 cost, they charge $60 and keep the $15) to help cover additional expense and overhead, as well as raising the bar higher for more qualified applicants. If there was only a $10 fee, many prospective tenants who know they have an eviction or criminal charge, might still consider putting the application in anyway since the cost to do so is so low, and they might get past the screening process. If it is a higher amount, lets say $60, then that same person would probably not waste the time and money on filing out the application and submitting it because they know that they probably would not pass the screening standards. This helps the landlord in that they are not wasting their time in meeting and processing prospective tenants that would not pass their required rental criteria.

There are also some landlords that do not charge any application fee directly to the prospective tenants. In the rental market period that just passed, landlords were desperate to get new tenants in, as more and more people were buying homes, and the demand for rental homes decreased. Many landlords were not charging a fee, as an incentive to get more people at least considering their rental.

As you can see, it is not always cut and dry, as to whether or not a landlord should charge the fee to the prospective tenant. We at Dragnet, recommend that the landlord at least charge the cost of the screening process to the tenant as the application fee, so that there is no financial cost to the landlord, only their time in dealing with the prospective renter.