Conducting Tenant Credit and Criminal Background Checks in Austin, TX - Article Banner

Any thorough tenant screening process should include credit checks and criminal background checks. While it’s easy to run these reports and move on, you’ll do a better job of screening and placing tenants if you dig into the results and measure them against your application and your rental criteria.

Today, we’re sharing some tips on how to properly investigate an applicant’s criminal background and credit report.

Check All National Databases for Criminal History

When you’re conducting a criminal background check, make sure you can access national databases. You’ll want to check for any criminal history in all 50 states. Look for your prospective tenant’s name on the sexual predator lists and the terrorist watch list. Your application should have a space for individuals to explain any criminal history that you’ll discover. Make sure your rental criteria is clear about whether you’ll accept tenants with criminal histories. You cannot say yes to one tenant but no to another tenant when they’ve been convicted of the same thing. Be consistent and put these standards in writing.

How to Evaluate a Credit Report

Many landlords and property managers will have a base credit score in mind, and those tenants with a credit score that’s on target or higher will get approved while those below the base score will get denied. It’s okay to have a credit score that you want to use as a baseline, but remember that the entire credit report is more important than just the score. People can have tens of thousands of dollars in medical or student loan debt that they’re struggling to repay. That could drag down a credit score but it doesn’t mean they’d be bad tenants.

Instead of focusing on the score, take a look at the big picture. Use the credit report to get an idea of how the tenant handles money. If you see that there are outstanding debts owed to former landlords, apartment buildings, or property management companies, you might want to require that those are paid off before you approve an application. Anyone who has unpaid housing bills from the past is likely to accrue additional unpaid housing bills in the future.

Consider Fair Housing Laws

Fair Housing Laws - thumbnailFollowing all fair housing laws is critical when you’re screening tenants, and mistakes are most often made when it comes to screening criminal histories and credit reports. This is why we recommend you have a written set of standards against which you measure every application. Your credit requirements have to be the same for all applicants. You need to be aware of things like disparate impact, which important when you’re looking at criminal background checks. Disparate impact is unintentional discrimination in which the impact discriminates even if the action does not. It’s still a new area of fair housing law, and you should ask for help if you’re unsure of how to apply it.

We work with landlords to screen and place tenants all the time. If you need with criminal and credit checks in your Austin tenant screening process, please contact us at AustinVestors. We’d be happy to help you.

Jeff Clawson (Broker/Owner)

Jeff Clawson has been a lifelong Central Texas Resident. Jeff was raised in Williamson County near Georgetown and Liberty Hill. Jeff graduated with a BA in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin in 2000 and obtained a Texas  Real Estate license in 2002. Noticing a need for honest and reliable property management services, Jeff founded AustinVestors Property Management in 2006 and has since leased and sold over 1000 homes in the Austin area. Jeff has a passion for real estate investing and truly believes that real estate is the best vehicle for long term wealth creation. Jeff currently resides in Georgetown with his wife and business partner, Ashley Clawson and their 3 children, Harper, Beckett, and Asher. In his free time, Jeff enjoys spending time with his family and in the outdoors.

Ashley Clawson (Business Manager/REALTOR®)

Ashley was raised in Round Rock, Texas and graduated from Texas State University with a BS in Early Childhood Education. After her time in the classroom, she went on to obtain her Texas Real Estate license and joined AustinVestors as the business manager.

Ashley has found great joy in the real estate world. From investing to flipping residential & commercial spaces, handling short term rentals, and walking alongside her husband, Jeff, in the property management sector.

In her spare time, Ashley’s top priority is raising their 3 children, Harper, Beckett & Asher. She enjoys traveling, hiking, exploring the city, staying active, and spending time with friends & family.

Tyler Worley (Leasing Agent/REALTOR)®

Tyler Worley was born in Dallas, Texas and raised just north of Austin, in Georgetown, Texas. After graduating from Georgetown High School, Tyler attended Baylor University and earned a degree in communications.  After graduation, he interned for ESPN and eventually accepted a job with the University of Texas athletics department working with The Longhorn Foundation.

In 2015 Tyler left UT to pursue other interests and decided to seek a career as a Realtor in 2016. Tyler joined AustinVestors in 2017 as a leasing agent. In his spare time, Tyler enjoys traveling, exploring new places, golfing, watching sports, and spending time with friends and family.

 

Mindy Quinones (Property Manager)

Mindy joined our team in July 2016 after relocating back to her home state of Texas after 23 years in South Florida. For 17 years in Florida, Mindy flourished in the customer service industry which has made her a great asset to AustinVestors. Mindy first started as a property services inspector and worked her way up the company where she is currently the lead property manager. She also obtained her Real Estate License in January 2018 in order to further her career with in AustinVestors property management.  

Mindy likes to spend her free time with her two sons, friends & family. She loves the outdoors and thoroughly enjoys watching football. Go Cowboys!

Luke Valerio (Leasing Agent/REALTOR®)

Luke grew up around North Austin where he has lived for more than 20 years.  He began his career in Information Technology serving the state of Texas shortly after obtaining an AAS in Network Administration from Austin Community College.

His love of the city and customer service skills led him to real estate where he realized his passion resided. He obtained his Texas Real Estate License in 2018 and has loved working in the industry ever since he joined AustinVestors.

 

Jami Harrison (Assistant Property Manager)

Jami has been in the real estate industry going on 13 years. She started her career working for a manufactured home company and has now worked in all aspects of the field. Property management has always been the fore font of her interest in real estate, which is what lead her to AustinVestors. She started as an administrative assistant and is now working as an assistant property manager. 

Jami has the joy of being called mom by her four beautiful children who inspire her every day. In her free time, she is usually at the lake with her family and friends. She loves to watch HGTV and is a huge Fixer Upper fan. Her DIY spirit takes her to antique shops and flea markets to find ideas and pieces of furniture she can refurbish.

 

Forrestt Eubanks (Business Development/Realtor®)

Forrestt moved to Austin in 1989 and has been active in the real estate industry for 24 years as a contractor, title professional and Realtor®. He has vast experience from which to help his clients navigate the entire transaction. Forrestt will be a true partner in the process, believing that the personal touch matters. He is a Realtor dedicated to dependable, proactive and attentive first-class service. 


Forrestt began his career as a Realtor with AustinVestors in 2013 initially working with buyers and tenants to find the perfect home. Having earned his CIAS (Certified Investor Agent Specialist) designation, Forrestt now works with our investor/owner clients helping them in all aspects of their investment portfolio’s. In addition to helping them buy or sell properties, he also markets their properties for lease and works closely with contractors on improvements or upgrades to maximize their return on their investments. 

In his spare time, Forrestt enjoys spending time with his family/friends and loving on his dogs, Ava & Diogie. He loves to cook and has been known to fire up his smoker with a great slab of brisket when he has time for the low and slow they require. However, his favorite food is Mexican Food and he enjoys it often! At home or on the go, he always has music playing and may dance when no one’s looking. One thing’s for sure, Forrestt is never bored!

Cameron Ramirez (Property Services Manager/Realtor®)

Cameron was born in the ‘Live Music Capital of the World’ and raised in Round Rock, Texas where he currently resides. In the middle of 2017 he began working with AustinVestors as their Property Services Manager, and towards the end of the year he acquired his Texas Real Estate License thus making him a licensed Realtor®. His attention to detail and great love for the city of Austin has made him a fundamental part of the team.

When Cameron is not working he likes to attend live music events, be adventurous out in nature, travel around the world, and most importantly spend quality time with his friends & family. His love for food has expanded his horizons when it comes to trying new, bizarre, and out of the norm cuisines.

 

No one in the Austin property management industry has a better reputation. Tenants, owners, and investors enjoy working with us because we’re efficient, proactive, and here to serve you and your property.

Whether you’re a homeowner who needs to find a tenant, an investor who can’t figure out the requirements of the Texas property code, or a tenant trying to turn a house into a home – AustinVestors is here for you.

Call or text us at (512) 360-0945 during business hours.

We guarantee that a team member will be on the other end to answer any questions you may have.

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Pet Restrictions:

The following breeds are not allowed:

If you are applying with a pet, please include a photo of the pet with your rental application. An additional pet deposit will be required for each pet. Maximum allowable number of pets is 2, but some properties may be limited to only 1 pet, or no pets.

Management Services:

Kira Davis (Trust Accountant)

Kira is a jack of all trades.  She has work experience in child care, sales, administration, accounting, and electronics. She met her husband while in the Navy, stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  Their daughter was born there too.  She is originally from Minnesota but moved to Texas with her husband after leaving the military.  The latest adventure is in the real estate industry as our trust accountant with AustinVestors.  

She is currently a student at Texas State University pursuing an accounting degree and later a CPA.  Kira enjoys spending time with family.  Hobbies include, puzzles, reading, and crafts, when time allows.