Know Your Tenants: Protect Yourself with Incident Reporting

shutterstock_305413670We don’t have to tell you that renting property can be a risky business. Even one missed month of rent can significantly impact your bottom line. The costs of having to evict a tenant can run into thousands of dollars. If one tenant makes others unhappy, you risk losing valued and reliable renters. And, if a tenant causes damage, it can be extremely expensive to cover the repairs.

Every time you enter into a new rental agreement, you are taking on the risk that your new renter will fail to pay rent, damage your property or become a nuisance to your other tenants. Proper and comprehensive screening can mitigate your risk and help you make the best decisions. By knowing a tenant’s rental history, you can make better decisions about security deposits to make renting possible for tenants while protecting your financial interests.

What You Need to Know

Often, landlords will not have complete information about incidents at tenants’ prior homes. It can be expensive to go through the full legal process to evict a non-paying tenant or to collect damages when a tenant leaves a unit in poor condition. And, even if a legal judgment is made, it can take months to show up on a credit report. There are many times that these cases are sealed and never show up on a traditional credit report.

That’s what makes the Incident Reporting database on theRRD so valuable. Our database has over 350,000 incidents reported to date, and can be searched using a prospective tenant’s first or last name, the last four digits of their Social Security Number, their drivers license or state ID number, consulate matricula ID, license plate number and date of birth. We fill in the black hole that used to exist in tenant histories. The reporting provides information that include:

  • damages to property
  • nonpayment of rent
  • unauthorized tenants
  • criminal activity
  • evictions
  • skips
  • other non-monetary lease violations

Fair Credit Reporting Act Compliant

The database is free to use, but, real estate professionals must be approved and have a permissible purpose to view it. theRRD is a credit reporting agency and abides by all FCRA rules. No dollar amounts are ever listed and tenants can’t be blackballed. When you use our product, you know that tenants’ information is being handled fairly and objectively so you can feel good about the information you get and the respect we give your valued clients. Landlords can make informed decisions prospective tenants and the amount they charge for the security deposit can match the risk, therefore the mitigating it.

Registered members are given an addendum that they can add to their leasing welcome packets. This informs residents that they may be added to the system if they violate their leases, which can encourage the best behavior from your prospective renters.

As a real estate professional, you need to protect your assets and your reputation. By carefully screening residents through a comprehensive and FCRA-compliant system, you can ensure that you are getting the best tenants possible for your rental properties.

 

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