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What Qualifications Should Tenants Have?

When establishing qualifications for tenants, it’s essential to strike a balance between ensuring responsible tenants and avoiding discrimination. Here are some common qualifications that landlords typically consider:

  • Stable Income:
    • Require tenants to have a stable income that is typically three times the monthly rent. This ensures they can afford the rent and other living expenses.
  • Credit History:
    • Consider a minimum credit score as part of your criteria. A good credit history can indicate financial responsibility. However, be aware of any local laws or regulations that may limit the use of credit information.
  • Rental History:
    • Check the tenant’s rental history by contacting previous landlords. Look for positive rental references, on-time payments, and adherence to lease terms.
  • Employment Verification:
    • Verify the tenant’s employment status and income to ensure they have a stable source of income to cover rent.
  • No Evictions:
    • Consider excluding tenants who have a history of evictions. This helps reduce the risk of non-payment and property damage.
  • Criminal Background Check:
    • Perform a criminal background check, but be mindful of fair housing laws and consider the nature of the offense, the time that has passed since the conviction, and its relevance to the tenancy. (See Tenant Screening Blog)
  • Pets and Smoking Policies:
    • Clearly outline your policies regarding pets and smoking. If you have specific restrictions or requirements, make them known upfront.
  • Responsible Communication:
    • Consider the tenant’s communication during the application process. Responsiveness and clarity in communication can indicate a responsible tenant.
  • Meeting in Person:
    • Schedule a meeting with the tenant to discuss the terms of the lease, address any questions they may have, and get a sense of their personality and communication style.

Remember to comply with fair housing laws and avoid discrimination based on factors such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or familial status. Additionally, be consistent in applying your criteria to all applicants to avoid legal issues. Always check local laws and regulations, as they may vary and affect your tenant qualification criteria.