Screen tenants for your apartment | 1-800-895-2550
Before your lease can be transferred, you should have your leasing office screen tenants for your apartment. Effective screening of potential tenant automatically reduces the chances of them ever defaulting on payments or damaging your apartment. If such precautions are properly handled beforehand, it will relieve all stress and headaches during the interim of the lease. What does tenant screening involve? To screen tenants for your apartment, simply means legally digging into who the person really is via their credit and background checks. The potential tenant will voluntarily fill out landlord’s application, which will provide a “reasonable estimate” of a person’s background and their ability to pay on their lease. There is of course no clear-cut way of telling what the potential tenant may do in the future, but their background is a great indication of what landlord may expect from a potential tenant going forward. Questions you should always ask When would you like to move? Some folks are looking for to move-in immediately, others are not looking to move for months. You should always get this out of the way, so that you know if this potential tenant is what you’re looking for in the meantime. What is your monthly income? I know it’s an odd question to ask, but they must understand that any landlord or leasing office will need to see proof of income, which must be at least 2.5 times the monthly rent, in order to qualify. Will you be able to pass credit and background checks? This is one of the most ultimate qualifications factors. If someone has any lease breaks or evictions on their credit report, they won’t typically qualify, unless they have a strong co-signor. Do you have any pets? Most landlords have strict pet policies. Usually, they have breed and weight restrictions on dogs, maximum pets allowed, monthly pet fees and non-refundable security pet deposit. Pet policies vary from landlord to landlord. Questions you should never ask What is your religion? Sometimes you hear a foreign name or a strong accent on the phone and you want to know if they may practice some religion that you are not fond of personally. Religion has nothing to do with their ability to pay and be a good tenant. This is a first sign of discrimination and it violates national and local fair housing laws. What country were you born in? Never ask what country an applicant was born in, as it is a purely a racist question. It’s 100% against the Fair Housing Act, which lists National Origin as a protected class. Do you have a service animal? You can’t ask this question, as the applicant may think that you’re discriminating against the disabled. If pets are not allowed, you should mention it as such, but also mention that service animals are allowed with proper animal certification status. How many children do you have? This question is discriminatory against familial status. Every landlord or leasing office must follow the occupancy rules according to their state and must instead ask “how many occupants a tenant plans on housing”.