Did you know the US has over 8 million independent landlords? The most important responsibility of a landlord is properly screening applicants and choosing the right tenants. Rental applications are accepted in person and online.
Deciding on the best practice is based on what works for the landlord. However, it may not be the most efficient. Plus, there are numerous applications available to streamline the application process.
Are you a landlord asking how to accept and screen rental applications from potential renters? Read this guide for useful tips.
What Goes on Rental Applications?
In today’s digital-driven society, it’s best to leave the tenant screening to third-party agencies. They have the technology and the experience to ensure you only entertain serious renters.
Property management companies often offer stand-alone tenant screening services. Visit https://certainmanagement.com/the-best-property-management-new-orleans-has-to-offer/ if you have properties available in the New Orleans area.
If you choose to handle the tenant application form and process it yourself, ensure you capture the basics, like name, address, phone, email, and SSN.
Understand Fair Housing Laws
Before becoming a landlord, take some time to learn the fair housing laws. These laws are mandated under the federal Fair Housing Act. They are designed to protect both the landlord and the tenant.
In addition to federal housing laws, you’ll also have state regulations specific to where the property is located.
Fair housing laws ensure tenants aren’t discriminated against based on:
- Family status
- National origin
State laws include these requirements and can also include sexual orientation, veteran status, political affiliation, or prior criminal convictions.
In addition, the laws cover a list of actions a landlord can and cannot participate in. It also sets forth rules on evictions and property maintenance.
Develop a Screening Process and Minimum Requirements
As the property owner, you have standards for your property. As long as you understand housing laws, you can set restrictions for your property. Things like only people on the lease can reside in the home.
Establish Rental History, Criminal, and Background Checks
As a landlord, you want to ensure you have reliable and responsible tenants. Pulling a rental history report can show if the potential tenant has a history of evictions.
You’ll also want to check their employment history and credit as a measure to determine if they can afford the property. Remember, a person’s rent shouldn’t exceed 30 percent of their income. It’s a good idea to have an idea of their outstanding debt, plus obligations like utilities and phone bills.
Create Deposit Protocol
It is common for landlords to request some form of deposit. Deposits are often the equivalent of one month’s rent. In some places, ‘are charged the first and last month’s rent, plus a security deposit.
Check renter’s laws to ensure you can require last month’s rent and a security deposit.
Get Your Property Rented
Rental applications are vital. Using tenant screening services can streamline the process.
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