Conducting a Tenant Background Check: 3 Important Things to Consider in Des Moines, IA

Conducting a Tenant Background Check: 3 Important Things to Consider in Des Moines, IA

Do you know how to find tenants who always pay rent on time, respect your property, and are courteous to their neighbors?

One way is through a comprehensive tenant background check. It lets you learn much about prospective renters, from their income to whether they've committed a crime.

We'll discuss some of the most crucial considerations when conducting such checks, so please read on.

1. The Laws Surrounding Tenant Background Checks

As a rental property owner, you have every right to perform Des Moines tenant background checks on each applicant. However, you must also follow Iowa Code Section 216.8(1). This law prohibits discriminatory or unfair housing practices based on an applicant's:

  • Religion
  • Creed
  • Sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity
  • Color, race, and national origin
  • Disability (both physical and mental)
  • Presence of children or familial status

Failure to abide by those laws can lead to applicants filing a complaint against you. The last thing you want is to be on the wrong side of the law, so ensure you fully understand tenant screening laws before you attempt to do it yourself.

2. The Types of Checks to Include

If you rent out to the wrong tenants, your income, property, and community can be on the line.

An example is if you accept an applicant with a history of severe or violent crime.

According to research, having an arrest record is a helpful predictor of whether a person will re-offend. So, if you rent out to someone with, say, a history of assault, your community could be at risk from this individual.

Therefore, please always conduct criminal background checks on each prospective applicant. You can do so through the DCI for just $15 per last name.

In addition to criminal histories, your tenant screening process must also include:

  • Confirming employment and income sources
  • Performing credit history checks
  • Reviewing rental history for potential complaints and evictions

Please don't skip any of those checks; they can give you valuable insights into each applicant. They can help you decide whether to accept or reject applications.

3. The Pros of Outsourcing the Process

As crucial as a comprehensive tenant screening process is, it's time-consuming. This is especially true if you have dozens of applications to filter through.

Fortunately, you can delegate this procedure to a professional property management company. They utilize state-of-the-art technology to conduct thorough tenant screening.

Highly experienced Des Moines property managers can take over the entire process on your behalf. They even back their tenant placement services with guarantees. They provide eviction protection to landlords if they must evict a tenant they've screened and placed.

Leave the Tenant Background Check Process to Pros

A tenant background check can help you make more educated decisions when choosing renters. However, you must also follow laws, especially those regarding unfair housing practices.

Our team here at PMI Central Iowa can simplify things for you. We are a locally owned and operated full-service real estate asset management company. However, we're part of a larger franchise that's been around for over two decades.

So, speak with our team today! We look forward to discussing how we conduct our fair and effective tenant screening process.