Tips for Successful Resident Screening
- Most landlords, even some ‘pros,’ are still practicing the old way of doing things— they take a social security number, make one phone call, and rent to the person. Then they wonder where the problems are coming from. Well, the old methods don’t work anymore. Quit relying on character judgment. For managing rental property, it does not work. Have a set application process, written down. Applicants must meet all the criteria. If they do, rent to them. If they don’t, don’t rent to them. It is simple, legal, and fair.
- Proper tenant screening increases occupancy and retention. Nothing in the fair housing laws forbids you from setting fair screening guidelines and applying them equally to all applicants. We look for a 3:5 to 1 income to rent ratio plus $300 a month per person over Keep in mind that every person belongs to these protected classes—each of us can be defined in terms of our race, color, religion, sex, and national origin, for example. So any time you deny an applicant, you have, in a sense, denied someone who belongs to a protected class. The question is whether or not you treat applicants or tenants unfairly because of the class to which they belong. If the criteria you set are blind to class issues and you apply them consistently, then you may turn down applicants who do not meet your criteria. The key lies in making sure your screening process is fair.
- We call the previous landlord and the employment departments of all applicants. No good info – they don’t rent from us! We also ask for a copy of the car insurance to make sure people are playing by the rules and have adequate insurance.
- To help prevent fraud and identity theft, the credit bureaus have instituted new inspection policies To receive a copy of your applicant’s credit report, your home or commercial office location must meet minimum safety and security requirements put in place by the bureaus. Have you established your rental criteria? Do you know the steps to take to evaluate an applicant for your property? Having clear and consistent guidelines about who would be the perfect tenant for your property is the best way to ensure Fair Housing and Fair Credit compliance.