Tenant Screening

Can Tenants Provide Their Own Credit Report?

You should never let an applicant furnish their own credit report. There is no federal law prohibiting a landlord from obtaining one as long as the applicant gives permission. Fortunately, all states except for Wisconsin allow a landlord to charge an application fee to cover the cost of pulling a credit report. Wisconsin (under Adm. […]

Tenant Screening

Rejecting an Applicant for Tenancy

No good person ever really wants to reject or refuse service to anyone – whether it’s a bank, employer, insurance company or whatever. If the applicant doesn’t meet your minimum requirements (those same requirements that have been applied to everyone else who has applied – regardless of race, color or creed), then there is not […]

Tenant Screening

Screening Tenants with No Credit History

Commonly referred to as “no hit” or “no record,” this is when the credit bureaus do not have any information on file for your applicant. Don’t be alarmed though, because a person can have no credit history for any of the following reasons: They have never bothered to apply for credit (no credit cards, car […]

Tenant Screening

Always ask a Tenant for Proper Identification

Before you accept a rental application, it is imperative that you ask to see some type of government-issued photo identification (e.g. a driver’s license or passport) and a Social Security Card. And copies should immediately be made for your records. If you do not have convenient access to a copy machine, you should either take […]

Tenant Screening

Charging Tenants an Application Fee

First—it’s okay! Asking someone to pay to apply for tenancy is not only okay, it’s an established, industry-accepted practice. Every landlord should charge a reasonable, non-refundable application fee to at least cover the costs associated with conducting a sufficient background check. Otherwise, you may find yourself more likely to approve an applicant you would ordinarily […]

Tenant Screening

“Acknowledgement and Authorization” on the Rental Application

Credit reporting agencies, which are governed by the Federal Trade Commission and the Fair Credit Reporting Act require that every landlord obtain a proper Acknowledgment and Authorization from a prospective tenant – prior to being legally able to acquire his or her consumer credit file. Most rental applications sold online or in office supply stores […]

Tenant Screening

Employer Verifications and References

Don’t be surprised if you sometimes feel like verifying someone’s employment is like pulling teeth – especially among the larger companies that have their toll-free or 900-H.R. number hotlines that require a ridiculous fee to simply verify your applicant’s employment. Employers either don’t want to be bothered or are too paranoid about the potential legal […]