Landlord Basics: Tenant Screening Tips

tenantriskverification December 7, 2012 0


The rental market is hot in many areas, and vacancies are low. Many landlords are seeing more applicants for every vacant rental than they’re used to. When you have multiple tenant applicants, you can be picky about to whom you choose to rent your apartment or single-family rental home. Why rent to a problem tenant, when you have a better choice?

That’s where tenant screening comes in. You don’t have to settle for less than an ideal tenant—choose those with acceptable credit history, no criminal record and enough income to meet your standards.

Here are some dos and don’ts for tenant screening that you may find helpful:
• Do have the applicant pay the tenant screening fee by including it in the application fee.

• Don’t neglect to obtain the applicant’s signature on a separate authorization page.

• Do treat every applicant equally, by screening each one and using the same process. You could be subject to charges of discrimination if you only screen and reject certain applicants.

• Don’t forget that you have the option to check an applicant’s sex offender status, social security number, address, name, and eviction history, along with standard criminal background and credit checks.

• Do check out your screening service. Make sure it has a good reputation, and is a Better Business Bureau Accredited Business. Be sure they comply with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and are an FCRA-Compliant Consumer Reporting Agency.

Don’t share information you learn with anyone.

• Don’t fall victim to any applicant’s hard-luck story. Stick to your procedures and award leases based on ability to pay the rent, acceptable credit and rental history, and clean background check.

• Do advise applicants in writing if you reject them based on credit checks. Provide a copy of the credit report.

Don’t discriminate against applicants on the basis of family status, national origin, gender, race, religion or disability.

Do verify employment and income. Require pay stubs, bank statements or income tax returns.

Tenant screening doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process for landlords. Stick to these dos and don’ts and feel free to contact E-Renter with any questions!

 This article originally appeared on tenantscreeningblog

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