A Quick Guide to Tenant Screening

A Quick Guide to Tenant Screening

When landlords don't screen tenants before allowing them to move into their rental property, they are setting themselves up for failure. They realize when it's too late that they won't be able to get rent on time, their property may get destroyed, or they're harboring a fugitive.

It's imperative to do pre-screening and rental applications as well as run background checks to protect themselves. 

Continue reading to learn what the screening process should look like. You'll also learn how San Fransisco Bay Property Managers can help you manage your properties.

What Is the Tenant Screening Process?

The tenant screening process includes:

  • Pre-screening
  • Rental Application
  • Running background and credit checks 
  • Accepting or denying the prospective tenant

Pre-screening is where you asked questions to get a feel for who a potential tenant may be. You may want to ask:

  • Why are you moving?
  • What's your current living situation?
  • Do you plan on having roommates?
  • Can you give me employment and prior landlord references?
  • Do you have pets?
  • Are you a smoker?

Make sure that you take note of who they are when you show them the property. Are they on time, early, or late? Do they ask important questions? Are they willing to complete a rental application and authorize the background checks?

The rental application can be customized based on what you are looking for and what you are trying to avoid. It can be set up to ask more personal questions:

  • Do you have a felony conviction?
  • Have you ever been evicted?
  • Have you ever refused to pay rent?

The next step is to verify your tenant information. The background checks can ensure that all of their answers on the application and pre-screening lined up. 

Avoid Discrimination

As a landlord, you need to comply with the Federal Fair Housing Act. This means that you can't deny a tenant based on their:

  • Familial status
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • National origin
  • Skin color
  • Race

Some states won't allow you to deny tenants based on their:

  • Marital status
  • Veteran status
  • Prior convictions/criminal history
  • Citizenship
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity
  • Age
  • Political identification
  • Section 8 

It's important to check with your state to make sure that you are complying with these requirements. In California, landlords can run background checks on their potential tenants. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), landlords don't need permission to run credit checks, criminal history checks, or rental history checks. 

Why Do You Need to Screen Prospective Tenants?

Screening prospective tenants is essential to being a landlord of rental properties. The tenant screening process helps you to weed out the potentially disastrous, problematic tenants for you. 

You want to make sure that your tenants can pay rent on time, take care of the property, avoid legal messes, and sign another lease later on. It helps ensure that you avoid evicting your tenants when they don't hold up their end of the rental agreement.

San Fransisco Bay Property Managers

Our San Fransisco Bay Property Managers will be able to help you with all of your landlord responsibilities including marketing, tenant screening, rent collection, and property maintenance. Contact Kenny Realty Sales & Property Management today for more information.

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