One of the BIGGEST MISTAKES one can make is the failure to screen an applicant before taking a security deposit and signing a lease.
You must be aware of the Fair Credit Act – and understand both Federal and State Law when accepting and deciding who gets to rent your unit. In other words – you may not discriminate. Certain exclusions apply, but only when the home is owner occupied and from 1 – 4 family. *** Please note the law(s) are very clear, this is only a brief note to warn you.
One of the main reasons, many smaller landlords (and some larger ones) were anxious to rent their unit(s) or did know how easy it is today to get a Tenant Credit Report.
TENANT SCREENING FROM RENTLAW.com
1. HAVE THE APPLICANT COMPLETE A RENTAL APPLICATION ( USE OUR FREE RENTAL APPLICATION HERE )
2. Get references and verify them
3. See our Tenant Screening Service. It is FREE for Landlords Here.
4. Based on the results of the credit report and verified references, decide whom to rent to.
5. Collect the first month rent and security deposit as permitted by law.
6. SIGN THE LEASE with the Tenant(s) – all of them over legal age. Be sure to copy the Driver License and Social Security Card if available. You want to have positive ID in case of eviction. **** Plenty of on-line sites tell you or try to scare you NOT to collect this information. BS – collect it and store it securely. Destroy it when legally permitted or when tenant leaves.
6. Give the tenant(s) a receipt for EVERYTHING and a COPY OF THE LEASE.
6a.USE OUR FREE LEASE HERE
6b.Add to this whatever decision criteria you have. You may want to check with a lawyer in your state to make sure it is enforceable (legally valid).
These steps may not guarantee you the tenant will pay you, but if you have to proceed to evict a tenant or they are late try and you have to collect back rent, the more information you have on the tenant, the easier it will be trace them down and MAYBE collect the rent you are due.