How to Conduct Non-discriminatory Tenant Screening
As a property manager, it is important to conduct non-discriminatory tenant screening to uphold civil rights and prevent possible lawsuits from tenants. According to the Fair Housing Act, you cannot discriminate against race, color, religion, ethnicity, gender, familial status, or people with disabilities. Frequently, your actions as a property manager can be misinterpreted by tenants and can lead to a lawsuit. For example, applying different housing rules from one tenant to another can be seen as discriminatory. Asking questions about the following topics will help you screen tenants without being discriminatory:
You can legally ask about the status of one’s employment because it directly affects their ability to pay rent. If a prospective tenant has been unemployed for a long period of time, this should be viewed with caution. However, if someone has just recently become unemployed and is looking for a job, consider their application separately.
Requesting the information about a prospective tenant’s income is also a smart decision in order to see their financial standing. If the person’s income is significantly below what is usually acquired, you should examine whether or not they will be able to pay their rent every month. If you don’t look at a prospective tenant’s income as a part of the screening process, you could be dealing with someone who is consistently late with paying rent.
Another way to screen your future tenant is by looking at their credit history. This can help you measure how responsible the tenant is with managing money. Important things to look at in one’s credit report are late payments, crime reports, bankruptcy, and lawsuits. If a prospective tenant has multiple of these on their credit report, there is sound reason to reject their application.
One of the best ways to find out if your prospective tenant will be amicable is to look at their eviction history through the credit report. This is an efficient way to weed out problematic tenants and keep your property running smoothly. Eviction data is one of the most informative parts of the credit report and should be examined when conducting non-discriminatory tenant screening.