From our Inbox- questions from rental owners who may be self managing or under management with WILMOTH or another company.

Dear WILMOTH:
I have inherited a house that I have decided to rent and not sell.  My first interested party is a married couple.  The background company I am using tells me I can’t search for background information on them as a couple but must request (and pay for) two separate reports.
Since the applicants claim everything they own is joint, can I just run the background report on one of the couple?  I kind of screwed up and didn’t ask for an application fee so I really am trying to save some money.
Thank You
NEWBIE
Dear NEWBIE
Congratulations on acquiring your first rental property!  There is a lot to consider when you choose to self-manage.  One of the main things is you will make some mistakes.  As you get more experienced hopefully they will all be as inexpensive as this one. 
The question here is really not whether you should be screening each applicantThe answer there is yes!  Every adult applicant (defined as 18 or over) should be willing to submit to a background screening.  For instance, your background check does check for things like criminal records..right?  What if one of the couple is a convicted sex offender?  That is just one of the examples of why you need all the information on both of your adult applicants. 
The mistake you made here is not asking for a application fee to cover the cost of the screening.  Also, consider the cost of your time to process the screening (enter it into the database the screener requires) and then review and understand the report.  Is it too late to go back and ask for an application fee?  If so, then you will just need to absorb the cost of the two applications processing. 
One additional tip- always obtain a copy of your applicant’s photo ID!  We have seen cases where a person steals another’s identity in order to obtain a clean screening. 
If you have a question about rental properties or management send it to PM@WILMOTHGroup.com.

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