As a landlord, it can sometimes be difficult to choose the right tenant for your rental property. Most of the time, the person will be a complete stranger. It’s only natural to want to learn more about them, and you may not have the time or tools to conduct a thorough background check. However, tenant screening is vital if you want to minimize the risk of unpleasant surprises. For a small cost, this step can save you a lot of headaches.
This article explains the various steps you can take to conduct a tenant screening. Rest assured, the solutions proposed are all available and legal in Canada.
To conduct a proper background check on your prospective tenant, you’ll need their written consent for you to obtain personal information about them. Consent can be obtained online (electronic consent) or on paper. Consent is required to obtain such information as a credit report, proof of employment, reference check with current/previous landlord and criminal record check in Canada.
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The keys to proper tenant screening
This step allows you to obtain information on your prospective tenant’s credit history and spending habits. It’s used to check if the applicant has ever declared bankruptcy, undergone any recovery proceedings or has been late in making any payments. The report also reveals the applicant’s credit score, enabling you to assess the level of risk.
Verification of current employer
This allows you to assess the applicant’s ability to pay rent based on their employment, if they’re employed. You can also check their job type and history with the employer, and also obtain information about their salary.
This allows you to check the applicant’s reliability with their current landlord, particularly in terms of payments, the condition in which the premises are being left and the applicant’s general behavior.
Criminal record check
This step allows you to protect yourself against unpleasant surprises and reveals any criminal history, if the applicant has any. In some provinces, you can also obtain the nature of the charges and the decisions that have been rendered.
Verification with the Régie du logement (Quebec only)
This allows you to obtain any complaints concerning your prospective tenant from the rental commission. It reveals if the applicant has ever had problems with previous owners and the nature of those problems.