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Background Screening for Student Housing

Posted by Ryan Howard on Wed, Jun 04, 2014


It's becoming increasingly difficult to protect residents, especially if you're in a college town. Just like any other potential applicants, students can either be a good or bad resident.  While it's in your best interest as a property owner to accept only good quality applicants and avoid the bad ones, it's not easy to tell which is which.

As a property owner, a thorough student background check will help you determine whether an applicant matches your ideal tenant profile. Remember, students are willing to appear to be the best applicant. The only way to confirm that they are is to screen them. Here are some benefits you can get from hiring a professional background screening provider.

Verify That Students Have the Ability to Pay the Rent

Can a student applicant really be able to pay rent on time? Almost all owners of rental housing properties look for thrice the amount of monthly rent in an applicant's gross income. Some affordable properties accept only twice the monthly rent.  They're likely going to call or ask a letter from a current employer to verify the applicant's income range and length of employment.

What about student applicants who do not yet have income? Don't worry. The process may be a bit different but there is still a way to verify a student's ability to pay rent. He or she can produce a guarantor, give additional deposit or show bank account balance from student loans. More importantly, professional background screening providers would usually factor in the following to get a bigger picture: credit history, rental history, and criminal background.

Using College Loans to Pay Rent

The good news is, student loans don't just pay for tuition and books. They can also help cover a student's living expenses.  Depending on the type of loan a student applicant has, the funds may be directly disbursed to you, the property owner, or may go to the school, which will then give you the funds (minus tuition) to the student. He or she can then use part of the funds to pay rent.

A Student with a Record

When running a background check, you may find that certain students will have records show up in their criminal background. This doesn’t necessarily mean they will be a bad tenant. When VeriFirst runs a tenant screening, we work with our Student Housing customers to help them define acceptable criteria based on their tolerance for risk. For example, a misdemeanor record for possession of marijuana is much different than a felony drug conviction with intent to distribute.  A DUI may not matter, but records for Theft or Fraud might.  It’s important to standardize the acceptable screening criteria to ensure compliance, safety and occupancy.

There are a number of reasons why you need to effectively screen students who apply for off-campus housing. A casual question-and-answer screening won't do. What you need most is an efficient and thorough screening process to help keep your property and tenants safe. It's not just about student safety. Everyone, including parents, staff and even the faculty will all have a peace of mind knowing that no serious offenders or dangerous individuals blend in with the students.


Compliance Library for Tenant Screening

Topics: Tenant Background Screening