Background Checks vs. Guest Screening for Airbnb & Short-Term Rentals

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In the rental industry, you’ve probably heard operators and fellow property managers throw around the term “background check.” Typically, this is used as an umbrella term that includes different types of information searches.These searches are particularly prevalent among long-term rentals where the rental agreement is a bigger commitment, and untrustworthy tenants are far too costly. To protect themselves, long-term rental companies perform deep background checks, which include verifying a potential tenant’s identity, checking their credit score to make sure they’re in good standing, calling employers to confirm their employment history and yearly income, requesting bank statements to make sure they can afford the rent, finding out where they currently live and why they’re moving, calling former landlords to get a sense of whether they’re an agreeable tenant, and, if they’re really serious, a criminal record check.

This extensive list requires a huge time investment, additional costs ranging from $20 -$50 per person, not to mention consent from the potential tenant and the assistance of multiple external sources, like employers, landlords, and the police in the case of a criminal record check. While it would be ideal if short-term rentals could operate at a similar level, the industry is often too fast-paced to go to these lengths.

Related post: Does Vrbo Do Background Checks? The Complete Guide

With such frequent turnovers, you have to rely heavily on information provided by the online travel agencies (OTAs), which is limited to the guest’s name, date of arrival, length of stay and other non-personally identifiable information.

Short term rental guest screening

That’s why it’s important for short-term rental companies to perform their own version of a background check: a thorough guest screening. Short-term rental companies should have a streamlined process to properly screen guests, set house expectations and collect personally identifiable information that abides by all privacy laws. In doing this, you need to verify the guest’s ID and payment method, research the guest’s booking history and gather pertinent trip details, such as where the guest is travelling from, the reason for their stay and how many guests will be joining them.

Related post: Why ID verification is not enough to protect your hospitality business

Understanding the Difference: Background Checks and Guest Screening

Background checks and guest screening might seem like two sides of the same coin, but they cater to distinctly different needs. While a background check involves an exhaustive probe into a potential tenant’s history, guest screening is a more streamlined and customized check designed to suit the fast-paced short-term rental industry. Understanding this difference is crucial for property managers to deploy the right safety measures.

The Limitations and Costs of Background Checks in the Short-term Rental Sector

Conducting a thorough background check for short-term rentals can be a cumbersome process. It requires significant time, financial resources, and the involvement of multiple external parties. Additionally, gaining the necessary consents can also be challenging. Given the transient nature of the short-term rental industry, these obstacles make full-scale background checks a less feasible option.

Online background check for rentals

An effective AI based, online guest screening process is the best guard against risky reservations. By confirming a guest’s identity and examining their previous booking history, property managers can reduce the likelihood of rule violations, property damage, and even fraud. A diligent screening not only protects your property but also ensures the security and satisfaction of your guests.

The Role of Responsible Renting in Maintaining Peace in the Community

Guest screening is not just about securing individual properties. It also plays a significant role in maintaining harmony within the community. By keeping out potential troublemakers, responsible renting helps to minimize neighborhood disturbances. It sends out a message that as property managers, we value the peace and security of our neighbors as much as our guests’ comfort.

Guest Screening: The Non-Intrusive, Legal and Non-Discriminatory Way to Safeguard Your Properties

Guest screening is a delicate process that respects the rights and privacy of the guests while keeping properties secure. It is a legal, non-discriminatory, and non-intrusive way to evaluate potential guests. By focusing on the essentials and maintaining transparency, we can ensure that the screening process is fair to all parties involved. And when we get it right, everyone – from property owners and managers to guests and local communities – can benefit.

This will help you avoid dealing with situations like a 20-person party, a trashed unit and your cleaner quitting on you mid-day because they’re overworked and tired. By verifying the guest’s identity and ensuring they’re exactly who they say they are, you can avoid these risky reservations and protect yourself against rule violations, parties, loss of revenue, property damage, credit card fraud and identity theft.

But even with the guests that do pass the screening process, it’s still important to set expectations. This will ensure that there’s no room for any misunderstandings. Property managers should have guests review and agree to all of the short-term rental’s house rules, holding guests accountable for their actions. Guests who violate the rules should be evicted; no questions asked.

In the short-term rental industry, guest screening is the only way to protect your properties. It’s also our duty as operators to rent responsibly, thereby keeping our neighbourhoods and communities nuisance- and disturbance-free.

Running a full background check on your guests, much like a long-term rental, is too costly and complicated for the short-term rental operator. So, next time a property owner inquires about background checks, set the record straight. Responsible property management companies perform accurate, systematic and fair screenings of guests because that’s the non-intrusive, legal and non-discriminatory way to guard your operations. With proper and responsible guest screening, your neighbours, building staff and communities will thank you.

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