Keep Out Bad Guests At Your RV Park!

Running credit, criminal, eviction, and sex offender reports for extended stay RV park guests or “full-timers” can be very important to maintain the quality and safety of your park. It is very effective for landlords and property managers. RV park owners and managers can enjoy the same benefits.

Avoiding RV Park Guest Ejections

We have all heard the problem-camper horror stories that RV park owners have experienced. ARVC has a blog post “When it’s time for a guest to go”. They don’t use the term eviction, because technically it is not. But, the desired result is the same – getting the problem guest out of the park.

Not letting problem guests stay at your park from the start is best way to avoid the need to eject them. This can be simply and quickly accomplished by requiring applicants to agree to a background screening as part of the application process.

Screening Your Guest Applicants

TenantMagic works with RV park owners and managers throughout the country. All they need to do is enter the email address of the guest applicant into the system. The applicant gets an email from the owner/manager with a description of the process and a link to their application. The guest applicant completes the application, pays the $35 fee and agrees to the background check.

The owner/manager receives the application and reports 5 minutes after it is completed. The reports include the following –

  • Comprehensive credit, including the credit score
  • Nationwide criminal
  • Eviction
  • Sex offender

By using TenantMagic, your bad guest problems can be minimized at no cost to you. The guest applicant pays the fee.

Associated Issues with Problem Guests

Additionally, TenantMagic will save you much more than lost fees. You also have –

  • The repair costs for property damages
  • Lost business associated with a low rating after a guest causes problems

TenantMagic can also help keep away-

  • Drug dealers and users
  • Disruptive campers

The RV park owners and managers that I speak to work extremely hard to maintain the quality of their parks. They realize it only takes one bad guest to ruin the experience for the other guests and trash the reputation of the park. The RV park owners using TenantMagic have told me that requiring a background screening with the application has allowed them to identify potential disruptive guests before the enter the park. This results in more pleasant experience for all involved.

About TenantMagic

TenantMagic provides online rental applications with the most comprehensive tenant screening reports available (credit, criminal, sex offender, and eviction) to property managers and owners.

TenantMagic is free to owners and managers – applicants pay the fee.

We work with RV park managers and owners throughout the country. I would like to show you how we can improve the inquiry and application process of long-term RVers for both you and your applicants.

Feel free to contact me or register at


Room for Rent?

Avoid this when renting out a room

In previous posts I mentioned that I spend a fair amount of time taking calls from new landlords. They want to know about the TenantMagic program  and to discuss others issues they are facing. Renting rooms in private homes has been a trending topic.

Trends in room rentals

It appears that renting out rooms in private homes is becoming more popular. The calls I receive are typically from empty nesters or single women that are looking to supplement their income. Many come from California.  The rents are so high there that it is difficult for young professionals (that aren’t in the tech industry in Silicon Valley) to afford even a modest rental.

According to Rent Café the average rent in San Francisco is $3609 for a 792 sq. ft. apartment. In the Los Angeles area, rents average $2371 for 786 sq. ft. A 3 -1 income-to-rent ratio is the industry standard. This would require a monthly income of $10,827 in San Francisco and $7113 in Los Angeles.

It is easy to see why there is so much demand for rooms with rents so high. One owner in the Los Angeles area told me that she had 12 people waiting in line at her house the day after she posted the room availability.

Taking precautions when renting a room

This can be a win-win situation for both the property owner and the tenant.  There are however, a number of precautions that need to be taken by the property owner. After all, they are having a complete stranger living under the same roof as them.

The first thing the property owner needs to avoid is what the owner who had 12 people waiting in line at her house experienced. As an owner, you really do not want to have a crowd of complete strangers descending upon your property.

The solution is to require each applicant to complete an online application and background screening before meeting with them. The TenantMagic application displays the residency requirements at the beginning of the application. These requirements are Fair Housing-compliant and refer to income, criminal, credit and eviction history.

There is very specific wording that tells the applicant not to apply if they do not meet the requirements. The $35 application fee is charged at the end of the process. The applicant is further told that the fee is non-refundable if they apply and do not meet the stated requirements.

Benefits of screening applicants before meeting them

The screening process culls the unqualified applicants that are “just looking.” It also provides the property owner with a good understanding of the person that they will be meeting with. The TenantMagic criminal report is quite detailed. The eviction report lets the owner know if the applicant has a history of not paying the rent. The credit report identifies lines of credit, balances due and if there history of late payments and collections. All of these factors need to be carefully reviewed before accepting them as a tenant.

No single process is guaranteed to get owners the perfect tenant, but having them go through a thorough application and screening process is critical. This is especially important when they live under the same roof.

Jay Apple is co-founder of TenantMagic, LLC TenantMagic provides online rental applications and comprehensive screening reports at no cost to landlords and agents. The applicant pays the fee.

You need more than a credit report to screen rental applicants

But they had a good credit score

Don’t focus on credit reports alone

Too many landlords are fixated on credit scores and credit reports when considering rental applicants. Landlords often call TenantMagic and will ask me what  is the minimum credit score they should use to accept and applicant? That is not the right question. Credit reports only provide a small portion of the information needed to make a qualified decision when considering tenants for your rental property.

Credit reports lack important information

An applicant’s credit history alone is not adequate to properly evaluate an applicant.

Eviction, criminal history and verified income are very important when considering a potential applicant and none of these are found in a credit report.

Eviction history is critical. Typically, if an applicant was evicted in the past, they will be evicted again. That is a landlord’s nightmare. The eviction process takes a long time and is costly. Property owners incur legal fees in addition to lost rent.

Criminal history is also crucial.  I presented at a real estate investors group about tenant screening best practices.  An elderly landlord told me a very scary story. The tenants in one of his properties stopped paying rent and would not respond to his phone calls. He went to the house to ask about the rent, was beaten severely by one of the occupants and ended up in the hospital for 2 weeks.

The tenant had a history of violent criminal activity. The landlord could have avoided the pain and suffering from the beating with comprehensive background screening.

Income Verification

You can find income information that was provided to the credit bureau when a credit card or loan was opened.  Many times this is not up-to-date or complete information. At TenantMagic, we recommend that the agent or owner ask for 3 consecutive pay stubs. You should request the 3 most recent bank statements to verify  the income deposits if the applicant is self-employed.

This method is far easier and quicker than attempting to get salary or wage information from the employer. Many large employers will direct you to a third party that requires a fee to verify employment and income.


Need more convincing about the need for comprehensive credit screening? Here is a forum from Curbed Chicago with more stories that will help convince you about the importance of tenant screening. This is just one of many sites with terrible tenant stories.

No tenant screening process will be 100% effective. But a comprehensive background search can significantly reduce the number of problem tenants.

Jay Apple is co-founder of TenantMagic, LLC TenantMagic provides online rental applications and comprehensive screening reports at no cost to landlords and agents. The applicant pays the fee.