Being a landlord means handling a lot of responsibilities. One of the biggest of these tasks is screening potential tenants. If the landlord does not put a lot of effort on screening tenants, he or she could end up with a bad tenant which is not a good thing for any rental property business. A landlord should also understand that it is not a good thing to trust your guts when screening tenants.
There are two things that you have to keep in mind when basing your decision on gut instinct. First, it simply does not work. The second thing is that it is illegal. The reason why it is not legal is that there are laws regarding tenancy which require all landlords to be fair to everyone. Thus, you cannot reject an application because you feel that there is something off with the appearance or vibes of the potential tenant.
Since we have already touched on one legal consideration for landlord, it is best to understand other legal matters that landlords and tenants should be aware of. Since it is required by law that a criteria for accepting tenant applications should apply to everyone fairly, it is important for the landlord to have a policy written down. It is important that under all circumstances, the landlord should stick to the policy. It is the reason why property managers sometimes forbid even landlords from placing tenants on the property without the potential tenant going through the screening process that have been set in place.
To protect yourself and your business, make sure that you are transparent during those times when you need to reject an application because of something you found out during the screening process. This way, you avoid the rejected tenant from filing a complaint.
Make sure that you also keep your records even if it dates back to several years prior. By hanging on to these records, you can show when prompted that you have a policy in place and you have been following it to the letter through the years. Also, if you have rejected applications that you need to discard, make sure that you destroy them completely like shredding them. Do this especially for those applications with sensitive personal information like Social Security numbers.
Keep in mind too that laws regarding tenancy could vary from state to state. Some state would have laws that are more in favor of landlords while some states may be a bit biased towards tenants. California for example has laws that are more in favor of tenants.