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Tenant Screening in New York: What Should You Do?

Tenant Screening in New York: What Should You Do?

2.3 million people in New York have some form of criminal record. During a brief walk down the street, there's a very good chance you'd pass by a couple of folks who've had run-ins with the police. Now imagine if one of those people was a tenant of yours.

Tenant screening is necessary because looks can be deceiving. A person may have a congenial outward appearance but be hiding a dark secret within. And it's not just limited to criminal activity.

As you begin the process of finding tenants in Saratoga Springs, there are a few things to keep in mind. Keep reading for a short and sweet guide on screening tenants.

Establish Criteria for Disqualification After Tenant Screening

This depends on you, but it's not always advisable to disqualify someone based on criminal history alone. For example, you wouldn't want to throw out an application because the applicant ran a stop light once. But thankfully, background checks reveal far more information than just instances of lawbreaking.

You may want to disqualify tenants who have a past history of evictions or repeated periods of unemployment. You don't need to tell tenants what your qualifications are. However, you should have them in mind during the evaluation of each screening.

Advise Your Tenants about the Background Check

Make it clear that you will conduct a background check on all tenants. You may choose to include the cost of the background check in the application fee. If you don't make this clear that it's universal, some tenants may feel that you are discriminating against them.

If a tenant does not agree to a background check, then do not proceed with their application. You have no obligation to rent out your rental properties if they refuse to submit to a background check.

Gather Required Information and Submit a Background Check

Your background check supplier will tell you what information you need. Generally, it will include their full name, date of birth, and other identifying information.

In rare occasions, the background check supplier may ask for further information. This may be in cases where they struggle to identify a previous place of employment, as an example.

Keep Fair Housing Laws in Mind

The Fair Housing Act protects tenants from discrimination. It's one thing to disqualify a tenant if they have a pet, but another entirely to do so based on religion or disability.

Familiarize yourself with this act. A tenant may feel that you screened them or denied them solely because of their ethnicity or gender. That could land you a lawsuit.

Find Property Management With Veno Properties

While tenant screening is essential, you want to proceed with caution when performing background checks on applicants. The Fair Housing Act prevents discrimination against tenants of protected groups. As long as you're forthcoming and consistent, you won't run into any trouble when you list your property for rent.

Veno Properties is your go-to source for property management in Saratoga Springs. Don't wait, schedule a free consultation with us and see the difference it can make.