When we screen tenants for our property owners, we follow a certain set of qualifying criteria that we’d like to show you.
What specific qualification criteria do we use when screening potential tenants for our property owners?
You can find our official Tenant Qualification Criteria document on our website, which we encourage all our prospective tenants to review before submitting their application, but today we’ll go over some of the most common items that cause prospective tenants to “fail” the screening process, as well as a few hot-button issues owners need to know about.
For the first step in the screening process, the prospective tenant must provide their identification. We need to receive a valid, current, government-issued photo ID along with a copy of their Social Security card and/or a tax identification number.
After that, the following criteria are considered:
- Income requirements. The applicant may be denied for, among other things, having no proof of income. Their monthly household gross income must also be at least three times the stated monthly rental amount. In other words, if rent is $1,000 a month, their gross monthly income needs to be at least $3,000.
- Employment history. The applicant may be denied if they’ve been employed at their current job for less than 12 months or their employment is unverifiable.
- Credit history. The applicant may be denied if their credit score is below 600, we can’t verify their Social Security Number, they have a past-due mortgage or a tax lien, or they’ve had an open bankruptcy or foreclosure within the last three years.
- Criminal record. All criminal records are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
- Evictions and active judgments. The applicant may be denied if they’ve been evicted within the past three years or they have any active judgments for collections of unpaid rent or active judgments for collections of damaged rental units.
- Rental history. The applicant can be denied if they have an unverifiable rental history for a period of at least two years, they have a pending eviction on their last rental, or they have three or more late payments, NSF checks, or complaints in the past 12 months. They can also be denied if they kept any unauthorized pets at a previous residence.
Regarding the income requirements, this past September a law was passed that stated that landlords and property owners/managers cannot discriminate based on an applicant’s source of income. In the past, for example, you had the right to refuse Section 8 tenants, but that’s not the case anymore.
To get an idea of how this might affect you as an owner, imagine that your rent is $1,200 per month and an applicant’s voucher covers $1,000 per month. Their qualifying income only needs to be three times the difference between the total rental amount and what the voucher covers, so since that’s a $200 difference in this case, their income only needs to be $600.
This new law also requires landlords to conduct repairs of up to $1,500 when they do the Section 8 inspection. If an inspector walks into your property and finds $1,300 worth of repairs that need to be done, you as the owner will be responsible for paying those repairs. In some circumstances, you won’t have to pay for repairs under $1,500, but more often than not you will. You can also take $1,000 of that and apply for reimbursement if state funds are available for reimbursement, but you’ll have to pay for the application process up front.
If you have any more questions about our tenant qualification criteria or there’s anything else I can help you with, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to help you.