Rental Screening Requirements: Credit Checks, Denial & Adverse Action Letters

Credit scores, background checks, and renter screening requirements. This article explores the pros and cons of the requirements commonly used in modern day rental applications.

Before you start marketing and renting out properties, there are a couple of things you need to take care of first. Read on to discover a detailed checklist that covers everything you need to know about renter screening requirements plus the ins and outs of property management!

The Purpose of Renter Screening Requirements

Every landlord or property manager needs to create transparent screening criteria. The rental screening requirements usually include proof of adequate income (pay slips and bank statements), rental references, and a credit check. This will enable the manager responsible for screening potential tenants to only select people who can provide adequate proof that they can pay rent on time.

Just remember that you need to process applications in the order that you received them, and you must accept the first applicant that is approved. It is also recommended that you have your screening policies well documented and approved by a lawyer to ensure that you comply with the correct legal framework.

The Benefits of Obtaining A Credit Score

A credit score is used by property managers and landlords to ascertain whether an individual is likely to pay their rent and bills on time.

Keep in mind that credit scores while useful cannot be an essential feature in your checklist. There are many factors that go into a rental decision.  Also,  Immigrants and people who are new to the country may now have either of these and disqualifying them from the application process may be considered unlawful discrimination.

Rental History

Obtaining good rental references are an important part of the screening process. However, there are exceptions to the rule. If an applicant has been a homeowner, they can use documentation of their mortgage payments as proof.

Background Checks

Background checks are quickly gaining popularity in the screening process of rental applicants. Obviously, this is important in checking that your future applicant is an example of good behavior. However, be careful that the criminal offense of the applicant does have a direct connection to their suitability as a tenant. If you reject the applicant outright without further investigation it could be considered discrimination with the fair housing laws.

Occupancy Requirements

You’re probably already familiar with the occupancy requirement, such as pet restrictions, smoking rules, and parking availability. If your standards are too severe, you may be violating discrimination laws. This is why it’s important to consult a lawyer before implementing any of your policies.

For example, even if you would prefer there to be no pets in your premises, you cannot discriminate against people with service animals. Make sure you provide information about occupancy requirements, so everyone is on the same page from the get-go. This will save you time not having to vet applicants whose lifestyle won’t fit into your rules and regulations anyway.

This is a useful and valuable guide for breaking down the renter screening requirements and application process for managers and property owners. If you still have questions book a consultation with a specialized attorney to get advice on your plans for your application, restrictions, and policies.

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