Handling Out of Country Applicants in Tenant Screening
Thanks to all the new people moving to our state, many of our members are getting applicants from out of the country. Applicants who aren’t US citizens or permanent residents present a unique case in tenant screening but it’s not impossible to qualify them for your unit.
What Can You Screen For?
Currently, we are able to screen applicants who have a Social Security Number (SSN). RHAWA can provide credit, criminal, and eviction searches on any applicant over the age of 18 with a US issued SSN. If you have an applicant who has lived in the US for a period of time, but still has not received a SSN from the Social Security Administration, you can still run a criminal and eviction report as these records are searched using name and date of birth not SSN. You can also request landlord and employment verifications checking to see what kind of tenant they have been in the past and verifying that they bring in sufficient income. In a circumstance such as this, you may request that they provide a co-signer who has a SSN and will be able to return a good credit report.
If you have an applicant who is coming from out of the country running a criminal and eviction search will most likely not be useful since the only databases that can be searched are from the US. There are other ways to try and verify identity, credit and rental history. When verifying identification you can ask to see a copy of their passport or if they are a student, ask for their student ID card. To verify rental history ask if they have any references within the US. If not, ask if they can provide letters of reference from previous landlords. To help verify credit and financial information you can ask for a letter from their employer or copy of their bank records. If the applicant is a student and is not going to be the one responsible for paying the rent you can require a credit check on the guarantor/co-signer.
Using these helpful tips, you can successfully rent to someone who has just arrived here. Having an international applicant is no reason to panic. You can still screen successfully and have a great tenant as well as meeting someone new and learning about a new culture!