The Importance of Conducting a Tenant Background Check in Merced, CA, Explained

The Importance of Conducting a Tenant Background Check in Merced, CA, Explained

If you rely on your gut feeling for a lot of things, you might think you know how to read people. In the real estate industry, don't go with your gut, especially when it comes to renting out your property to a tenant.

In your area of business, it's all about the facts. A tenant background check can help you receive accurate information so you can make informed business decisions.

Keep reading to learn more about tenant screening in Merced, California.

Importance of a Tenant Background Check

Quality tenants are hard to come by, and you can't always trust what you see on an application. To get the best possible tenants, you need to complete a tenant background check.

Tenant screening helps landlords find tenants who won't make their life more difficult. Ideally, tenants will pay rent on time, avoid damaging the property, and might even renew their lease.

A tenant background check offers so much information. At a minimum, you'll be able to see if the person applying for your rental is exactly who they say they are.

California Tenant Background Check Laws

Before you can learn how to screen tenants in California, you need to know how to stay compliant with the laws.

The most important thing is to get consent from the tenant to run a background check. Securing written permission is easier if you include a provision in the rental property application about tenant screening.

Tenant background check laws in California also state that you can't charge more than $59 per applicant for a rental application fee. This fee can go towards the cost of running the different types of tenant checks.

To streamline the process, collect this fee when the tenant turns in their application.

Criminal Records

Unlike other states, California has specific laws on how criminal records can be used during a housing application. If the applicant was convicted and completed their sentence over seven years ago, you cannot use their criminal history against them.

This gives people a fair shot at securing housing without worrying about a blemish on their record from the past. Failing to comply with this law can put you in danger of going against the Fair Housing Act.

How to Screen California Applicants

After getting the applicant's consent to run a background check, follow these steps:

  • Gather the necessary data for the check
  • Decide if you will screen the tenant or hire a service
  • Decide whether or not to charge the applicant a fee

Make sure you are consistent with these steps for every tenant to avoid a discrimination lawsuit.

Hiring a tenant screening service will help you stay compliant. These professionals know the laws in California and can provide you with accurate information in record time.

How Can Property Management Services Help?

Many Merced, California, property management companies have connections with tenant screening services. When you hire PMI Merced, for full-service rental property management, you automatically gain access to tenant screening.

With over 20 years of experience in the industry, we understand the local laws and can keep you compliant when running a tenant background check. With our state-of-the-art technology, we can find the best tenants for your units.

Ready to fill your vacancies? Contact us today to get started.