Author Topic: Tenant screening question  (Read 1471 times)

sbaTexas

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Tenant screening question
« on: July 19, 2016, 04:16:03 PM »
 I am in the process of screening tenants for one of my properties. My question is,  are there any rules or laws in regards to renting to a tenant who is qualified for your property or can I literally pick and choose? Since these tenants are having to pay a $40 credit check fee, I didn't know if one qualified for my house if there was a rule or law requiring me to rent to that person.  I might be overthinking this but since the tenant is out $40 I wanted to make sure there was not a law protecting them if they do in fact qualify and pass the background check  in the event that I have several people interested and would rather go with a certain individual over another based on credit score, background check etc.

 Thanks in advance!

SwordGuy

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Re: Tenant screening question
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2016, 05:44:09 PM »
1) Treat all prospective tenants EXACTLY the same.   EXACTLY.   Not mostly the same.  EXACTLY.

2) Taken in order of application, accept the first one that qualifies.

Anything else leaves you open to charges of discrimination.  And, frankly, it's the fair thing to do.  \

If I were doing the checking myself, I would be loathe the cash the 2nd applicant's check until I knew I had rejected the first one.   

sbaTexas

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Re: Tenant screening question
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2016, 08:26:49 PM »
 That's what I thought and also what I needed to hear. Thank you for your response

gazzamatic

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Re: Tenant screening question
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2016, 07:52:45 AM »

In MN, the landlord is required to disclose to the applicant in writing "the criteria on which the decision to rent to the prospective tenant will be based" before accepting any screening fee.  Additionally, the landlord must return the applicant screening fee if "the applicant is rejected for any reason not listed in the disclosure".

I follow the same approach as SwordGuy.  Treat people fairly and, even if you don't follow the letter of the law, you will likely have few problems.

Drifterrider

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Re: Tenant screening question
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2016, 08:06:38 AM »
You need to know the laws of your jurisdiction.  My PM does all the screening but calls me with the information of the prospective tenant.  I make the decision.  It isn't always the first person to qualify.  I never see the applicant and their race/religion/etc are never discussed.  What is discussed is credit score, income, make up of the tenant (adults, children, etc).


Evie

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Re: Tenant screening question
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2016, 03:19:17 PM »
Laws also vary by state. I bought a copy of the NOLO press landlord book for CA (my state) and that way I know what I can and can't use. There are obviously gray areas that can get you into trouble, but I find this books is generally sufficient for what I need. I think they have one for TX, or you can find a similar book. $25-$40 on a book could save you a lot of headache.