The Shifting Expectations of Applicant Verification

In the past, waiting a week to see if you qualified for an apartment was part of the territory for an applicant. But so was the inability to track the progress of a package shipment, or the need to wait for the rerun of your favorite show if you missed the original broadcast. 

Prospects are much less patient in an instant-gratification world, and they should be given the abundance of digital tools designed to expedite these types of processes. The quicker an applicant can be verified the better—but the accelerated timeline shouldn’t come at the expense of an accurate and thorough review. 

In addition to the fast-but-not-reckless approach, apartment operators have had to consider a handful of additional variables in the ever-evolving applicant verification process: 

How 2020 changed the verification process

One of the staples of the verification process, credit history, took a hit for many renters as households across the country struggled with job loss . Since credit scores are less predictable, some apartment operators are including additional factors in their applicant evaluations, particularly rental-payment history. While this has long been part of the verification process, flexible screening tools let properties adjust scoring to give additional consideration to applicants who have prioritized rent. If they have continued to pay rent in a timely manner, operators can be more forgiving about the credit report—within reason, of course.

Fraud prevention

Expedited processes leave room for cybersecurity threats, particularly when the idea is to act as rapidly as possible. Operators can avoid any haphazard processes by selecting a verification platform that offers risk-based fraud detection and prevention that delivers an integrated set of insights and facilitates real-time decisions. A built-in tool like Precise ID, which leverages a historical consortium of more than 250 million identity inquiries, along with applicant device verification and authentication questions, enables the screening process to be integrated into the application process. This can return even quicker results without the need to worry about anything sinister happening on the back end. 

Employer and bank account legitimacy

Several websites are dedicated to fake paystubs. When applicants cannot qualify for a lease, they’ll sometimes opt for this medium in an effort to circumvent the system. Operators must be diligent about verifying that the documentation presented is a legitimate representation of available funds. Thankfully, tech tools are now available that quickly confirm the applicant’s income with bank-validated deposit transaction data. 

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An income verification report can confirm whether the applicant meets your property’s rent-to-income requirements through a simple online transaction. Applicants identify accounts where they receive income and permissions access for a review of up to 12 months of their deposit transaction data.This is helping ease what has historically been a time-consuming and often inconclusive process for property teams.  The applicant verification process continues to evolve, and not only for prospects in the form of a quicker screening process. Onsite teams now have access to more tools than ever in the effort to be quick and thorough. Platforms with low dispute rates, accuracy, stability and the ability to integrate will make the process even more intuitive for apartment operators. 

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