Frisco Property Management Advice for Landlords: Tenant Screening
Roy Plat - Tuesday, June 10, 2014
A lot of landlords ask us about tenant screening, and how a Frisco property management companyshould check a tenant’s background. You have to remember that finding a tenant is easy; you can use Google and Craigslist and lots of other online resources to locate tenants. While finding a tenant doesn’t require a lot of effort, screening a tenant takes a lot of attention and work.
Most property management companies have a system in place to screen applicants. This is very important because a lot of landlords who manage their own properties do not take the time to screen thoroughly. Many landlords will listen to the stories that tenants tell and accept the excuses that are provided. References turn out to be uncles or co-workers and ultimately, you end up with bad tenants. They might pay on time for the first month or two, but then problems start and before you know it, you aren’t getting any rent. Property management companies don’t listen to the stories or tolerate the excuses. They use their expertise to properly screen those applicants and ensure you get someone who is qualified.
The process must be the same for every tenant, every time. This isn’t difficult, and you have to stick to your system so you don’t get in trouble. It’s critical to avoid discrimination. In Texas, just like anywhere, there are fair housing laws in place that help landlords avoid discriminating against potential renters. By law, you are not permitted to deny someone housing based on their sex, religion, color, nationality or disability. You have to avoid it from the very beginning, when you are screening.
In Texas, we have a law that requires landlord listing criteria. This means that if you are going to collect payment from an applicant to cover the screening and the processing
of an application, you must provide that applicant with your criteria. This is a very good requirement and it will help you with your screening process. We provide our landlords with the standard recommendations we have for listing, and most of our clients agree with those recommendations. Write them out and use the same criteria for every applicant.
Something to remember is that you can discriminate based on credit score. This is an important tool that you can use, and we encourage you to do it. If you have any questions about tenant screening or fair housing laws, please contact us at Plat Realty.