It is next to impossible to say with certainty that the tenant you have selected is going to be a perfect one for you. But you can certainly increase this likelihood if you have a good tenant screening procedure in place. You get to know the real nature of a tenant only after he has moved in and lived in your property for some time. If there are no complaints and he pays monthly rent on time, you can breathe a sigh of relief. But you can have peace of mind about quality of your tenants if you have a tenant screening procedure in place.
How is tenant screening carried out?
There are many components of a tenant screening system depending upon the kind of landlord and the property. It is also subject to local housing market and the rules made by the authorities. Such a system is crucial for all landlords as they can avoid bad tenants who can make their life hell and cause damages to their property. You want tenants who are well behaved and pay your rent on time. Before creating a screening process, you should look at the related laws such as fair housing act. You can then set the criterion for your tenant screening program.
Understanding fair housing laws
These laws were introduced by the federal government to prohibit discrimination against tenants based on their religion, skin color, gender, marital status, and disability. Different states have added clauses to this act, so it is prudent to read the laws in your state before designing a tenant screening procedure. Do not ask questions about race, religion, gender, and marital status to abide by fair housing laws.
Criteria that you can use
There are other ways to judge the qualities of a prospective tenant such as his ability to pay rent and care shown for your property.
- You can set a qualifying criterion that says a tenant should earn three times more than the monthly rent.
- They should not have been evicted by a landlord
- They should not have committed a crime
- They should not have moved too frequently
- They should have a decent credit score
- They should be honest and respectful
- They should keep the property clean
You are free to add or delete qualification criterion according to your specific requirements. You can make sure you have the right to ask a tenant to leave the premises if he has provided false information in his application form. You can deny permission to applicants who appear to be rude or unkempt.
Have all your qualification criterion written in a printed application form?
Make sure that all your rental qualifications are written down on a piece of paper and you get the consent of your applicant on this form. You can evaluate each applicant on the basis of his answers to your queries in this application from and then decide whether he deserves to be allowed entry as a tenant or not. Stick to the rules you have made as otherwise you can be accused of violation of fair housing laws. For example, you cannot allow an individual with a low credit score entry into your premises when you have set a score of 600 and higher as your rental qualification criterion.
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