photo credit: Clearly Ambiguous
You’ll hear it over and over again that screening your prospective tenants is one of the most important things you can do as a landlord or a property manager, but what if you already have tenants in the unit, can you screen them now? The answer is no.
To perform the credit check of the screening process requires a legitimate business reason, which you would have prior to the tenant moving in to your property, but once they’re already there you no longer have any reason to check their credit.
This also applies to people who are purchasing a rental property that is full of tenants with current leases. You cannot go back and check their credit status once they’ve already got the lease. If you are worried about this and want to do a credit check, you’ll have to wait until their lease expires and then offer them the option of renewing once they’ve passed your screening process.
If you have a tenant that is on a month to month lease you can give them the prerequisite notice and terminate their month to month contract and then perform a full screening before you decide to extend their lease, if you decide to extend it.
If a tenant is already a problem then no screening process can help you. Once they’re in there, they’re in, so you’ll have to look for lease violations and follow the eviction process for your region.