How We Screen Your Rental Applicants

How We Screen Your Rental Applicants

When you decide to lease your property and allow tenants to live in the space, you're exposing yourself to a certain amount of risk. While property leasing can be a very lucrative endeavor, it's also paved with pitfalls (if you're not careful!).

This is why conducting a tenant criminal background check is an absolute must if you wish to protect your property. After all, it's most likely one of the most expensive things you own.

Whether you're a landlord or a future tenant, here's what happens during a background check.

Always Get Consent First

Before a landlord can conduct a background check on any potential tenants, they must receive full consent from them first. This must be in the form of written consent, added to the rental agreement as a separate document.

The consent letter must clearly outline the purpose of the background check and the criteria within it. Landlords need to inform tenants of their rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This also includes the right to dispute any information, if they so wish.

Good Knowledge of Fair Housing Laws

As a landlord, you must have a good understanding and knowledge of fair housing laws in your state. These laws serve to protect tenants and make for a fair tenant screening process, free from discrimination.

The Fair Housing Act protects tenants based on their race, religion, sex, social status, marital or family status, and disability. In short, landlords are not permitted to make decisions based on these characteristics.

Stick to Reliable and Verifiable Screening Criteria

The tenant screening process boils down to several criteria/factors that make for the ideal tenant. As a landlord, you have the right to decide what these factors are.

Some of the most important include previous rental history, tenant income/earning level, and credit history. Aside from these criteria, landlords must not include criteria that could fall into the realm of discrimination, i.e. subjective criteria, even if you have the right to decide on your preferred tenant.

Keep Privacy Top-of-Mind

Remember that you are dealing with real people who have the right to privacy. It's a landlord's responsibility to ensure all sensitive tenant information remains private and confidential during the screening process.

Keep Open Lines of Communication

Potential tenants deserve to get the full picture through open lines of communication from landlords. You must remain as transparent as possible about the screening process and exactly what's involved.

Take the time to explain the steps during a background check, the type of information collected, and how it's evaluated during the process. If you have any concerns, make sure to address them directly with the tenant, first.

Open communication creates the basis for trust and a good relationship between landlord and tenant.

Need Help with a Tenant Criminal Background Check?

Owning and managing a property can be a fulfilling journey, but the reality is that it's not always easy being a landlord. Whether it's rent collection, tenant screening, property maintenance, or marketing, PMI Property Management is here to make your life easier as a landlord.

If you're a first-time landlord in Boca Raton and need assistance with a tenant criminal background check, get in touch with our team today.