The tenant screening process is the process of tenant qualification where landlords analyze the prospects applying for their renting units. Finding a good tenant through this tenant screening process can be difficult, because the laws in some states limit the type of questions that the prospective can be asked. What qualifies as an ideal tenant for any owner of renting units is a tenant that pays the rent every month on the agreed date without delay, a tenant that looks after the property as for his own and does not in any way disturb the neighborhood.
The landlord should equally treat every prospective and apply same standards and policies in the tenant screening process for every applicant. The tenant screening process itself starts with the rental application that every prospective tenant should fill in. What is demanded of the applicant in this step is sincerity and authenticity when filling the application. The application should be in written form and should consist of basic information about the applicant (name, address, birth date, social security number, license number and such), information about the tenant’s employer and monthly income, credit and bank information, previous rental history and at least three to four references. The landlord should also ask for tenant credit report which enables him to later check the information given by the prospective tenant about the employment, credit history and other data included in the application, from the applicant’s employer or from a credit reporting bureau.
All the information from the application, as part of the tenant screening process, should be carefully examined whether there is inconsistency in the given data. If this is the case, there is most definitely something that the prospective tenant is trying to hide. What should not be neglected in the tenant screening process is confirmation of the employment, credit history and previous rental information of the prospective tenant. The employer should be questioned about the applicant’s accountability at work and the stated income should be verified. Landlords should not automatically assume that the applicants with higher salary are more likely to regularly pay their rent, because in most cases these applicants also have more monthly obligations they need to execute. The previous landlords should be consulted about the prospective tenant behavior regarding the rent, the property and the neighbors. The tenant credit report history check should give information about eventual late payments, outstanding debts and prior bankruptcy of the prospect.
Before a tenant is chosen every landlord needs to set minimum standards for the tenant screening that need to be met by the applicants in order to be considered as prospective tenants. These criteria refer to their income,tenant credit score, stability of their employment, non-evicting history etc. The ideal tenant is chosen based on these standards set before the beginning of the tenant screening process. When an applicant is rejected the reasons for such decision should be clearly stated and documented to avoid accusation of discrimination.