One of the best measures property owners can implement in order to prevent and defend against discrimination claims by turned-down tenants is to develop an consistently apply a detailed tenant screening procedure and policy. By laying out your decision-making process and following it in every case, you build a record of maintaining legal compliance in your tenant selection decisions. One important thing to know, though, is that you don’t have to follow a one-size-fits-all policy for all of the rental properties you own. You can establish different selection criteria for prospective tenants of each property you own, and in some cases, doing so can offer a significantly better return on your investment.
Not All Residential Rentals Are Created Equal
Let’s say you have a portfolio of rental properties, which consists largely of homes with builder-grade finishes, in good repair, operating at relatively low maintenance and repair costs. You grab a great deal on a larger home with upgraded amenities like solar panels, a hot tub, large yard with higher-end landscape and lighting, and high-end finishes and appliances. You’re going to need tenants who can and will take care of those upgrades, and can reliably afford significantly higher rent than the tenants at your other properties. It doesn’t make sense to apply higher standards across the board, or you’re likely to increase vacancy at your older properties, but you may have concerns about applying different tenant screening criteria to your new one.
How To Establish Separate Tenant Screening Criteria
Think through what tenant screening criteria will work for your new property. You may want to require a higher FICO score or larger income, a longer period since a prospective tenant filed bankruptcy, and you may want to remove some options like having a co-signer or paying extra rent to make up for credit scores and income that don’t quite meet your standards. Whatever criteria you decide on, spell them out in detail, publish them with the rental listing, and follow them to the letter with every single application.
Get Help With Compliant Tenant Screening In Orlando
The professionals at Belmont Management Group help property owners like you to develop and consistently follow legally compliant tenant screening for each of their residential rental properties. We also make it easy to keep your properties profitable with low vacancy rates and affordable maintenance and repairs. Call or contact us online for a consultation, and to learn more about how our property management services can help your investment properties bring better returns.
Note: Please keep in mind that this is mostly a summary of the important points, but by no means does it constitute or cover the entire topic of tenant screening regulations and policies. You can adjust the screening criteria, as long as it does not violate fair housing laws.