Proper Tenant Screening by Landlords

As a landlord, finding an ideal tenant can be difficult and stressful. Proper screening of prospective tenants is critically important for a landlord to ensure, not only rent is paid, but also that their property is reasonably maintained. Tenant screening and the tenant application process is a critical tool which can help prevent future problems. In the end, finding the right fit for all, makes it better for both landlord and tenant.

Prospective tenants are typically given an application for tenancy when they visit a rental property. The application must be completed and submitted to the landlord with any required screening fee. There are specific regulations on the amount the landlord can charge for a screening fee and what the screening criteria may include. In addition, in certain circumstances, specific notice must be given to prospective tenants when a landlord screens certain criterion such as the tenant’s rental history, character references and credit reports to name a few. The tenants also have a right to dispute the accuracy of any information provided to the landlord by screening companies. Further, the landlord may not require payment of a screening fee unless the landlord gives notice about the amount of rent and deposits required. If the landlord fails to provide proper notice, the prospective tenant may collect up to twice the amount of the screening fee plus an additional $150. Thus, to find the ideal tenant, the landlord must follow numerous rules and regulations during the tenant screening process.

Screening prospective tenants is one of the most important functions a landlord can take to protect their rental property, but the landlord must follow proper screening procedure under the law. If you need assistance with any landlord tenant issues, including rental agreements, evictions or proper screening procedure, feel free to contact our office and we will be happy to assist you.

Scott C. Bucy is an attorney with the Law Office of Robert Good LLC, specializing in estate planning, business, landlord-tenant law and intellectual property. Contact him at (541) 482-3763.