By Robyn Latman, Esq.
What the heck is Landlord Tenant credit, and how do I find out what my prospective tenant’s landlord tenant credit is? Read on to learn what you need to know about landlord tenant credit before you rent your next apartment to the wrong tenant.
Before you do many of life’s routine activities, someone checks your credit score. It may be your monetary credit, your criminal credit, or in the case of tenants, it should be their rental credit. If you want to buy a house, you can’t get a loan from a bank without the bank first checking your credit score. Same for buying a car or getting a credit card. The lender wants to find out whether you are a good risk for its money.
Want to find a new job? You can be sure that your future employer will do a background check before they offer you your first paycheck. The Human Resources Department may also call your former boss for a reference. They want to determine whether you have been a good employee in the past and whether you are likely to be a valuable asset at their company. Recently, I applied to volunteer in a local hospital’s pediatric department. I have many years of volunteering experience, mainly with children of all ages, including as a lawyer and camp counselor for a children’s cancer organization affiliated with that hospital. Even though I had clearly explained this experience on my application, the hospital still requires its own background check. I don’t blame them. The hospital is doing what is required to protect its interests.
We’ve all heard that past performance is a good predictor of future behavior. So, tell me why so many landlords rent their property to a tenant without having first checked into the tenant’s background? Specifically, I am talking about checking into the tenant’s prior renter’s history.
A few years ago, I was handling an eviction action for a college friend of mine. He owns a two-family house in New Jersey. This is strictly an investment property for him. He lives in New York City. When my friend first called me to file the nonpayment case against his tenant, he was telling me what a nice woman she had seemed when he met her. He believed her when she told him that she would never be one of those tenants who just stops paying the rent. Sure enough, she did become one of those tenants who just stopped paying the rent. Being the nice guy that he is, he kept giving her one more chance and then one more chance to pay her arrears. When we finally sued her for eviction, she was behind in paying several months worth of rent. Somewhere between getting a judgement for possession against the tenant and the tenant moving out of state while owing my friend several thousand dollars that he will never see, the postcard arrived in the mail.
The postcard from a company that searches the eviction records throughout the state and lets Landlords know whether their applicant will be a good tenant. This very same postcard that, delivered prior to accepting this tenant, could have saved my friend a lot of time and money. The postcard that listed the last time that the tenant was sued for eviction and by which landlord. The same type of postcard that does arrive before he accepts any new tenant. This is what we call Landlord Tenant credit.
My friend prides himself on being a good guy. I can assure you that he is. However, the qualities that make him such a good person, the sort of person who was willing to trust his tenant, are the same ones that prevented him from being the best version of Landlord that he could have been in that situation. He makes this mistake no more. Before signing a lease with any new tenant, my friend now orders a Landlord Tenant Credit check from one of the companies who specialize in this field. He is saving himeself both time and money. He is also better at protecting his investment.
Your real estate is an investment. A Landlord Tenant Credit check can help you determine whether a prospective tenant is a risk worth taking before you hand over the keys.
Information gathered from this blog post is intended to be educational in nature only and does not replace the advice of an attorney about your specific matter. If you are a landlord of either residential or commercial space, and you are wondering whether you can enforce your lease agreement, collect unpaid rents or remove a tenant who is breaching its lease agreement or the law in some way, please contact this office for additional information. We look forward to speaking with you.