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The Resident Screening Process
Resident screening has become an important process for any property owner or property manager. Entering into lease agreements with quality tenants is the first step in protecting and profiting from your investment. Tenants who are consistently late with their payments, miss payments or eventually need to be evicted will cost owners and managers both time and money.
Resident Screening Compliance
The first step in implementing a resident screening process is to set your tenant screening criteria. Be sure to comply with Fair Housing Act regulations, the Fair Credit Reporting Act and your local and state laws. You also want to make sure that you are consistent in your resident screening process so that you can safeguard yourself against any claims of discrimination.
Common Resident Screening Criteria
Setting up the guidelines and requirements of your tenant screening process is up to you. You can use information from the rental application, reports obtained through screening services or information received from references that the applicant provides. Here are a few elements to consider when creating your criteria:
Tenant Credit Report
Pulling a credit report can give you information on whether an applicant has any outstanding collection accounts. This will also give you their FICO score.
Contacting previous landlords can answer a lot of questions about a potential tenant. References can help you determine whether an applicant was a good tenant, paid their rent on time consistently and if the applicant fulfilled their lease agreement.
An applicant with a steady work history is much more likely to be able to fulfill their monthly rental obligations. Verifying that an applicant earns enough to cover the agreed upon rent amount is a must for any property owner.
It’s best to check with local and state laws if you decide to add a criminal background check to your resident screening process. Criminal background checks let you research information regarding what offenses are acceptable to use as grounds for denying a rental application.