Tenant Screening Criteria Suggestions

I am curious what others are doing as far as their tenant screening criteria goes…My attorney suggested I have a written policy that I include with the rental application. Mine goes like this:

  1. Any applicant convicted of sex crimes will be rejected.

  2. Any applicant convicted of assault or a violent crime will be rejected.

  3. Any applicant who has been convicted of drug trafficking, drug use, or possession in the last 20 years will be rejected.

  4. Any applicant convicted of burglary or theft in the last 15 years will be rejected.

  5. Management reserves the right to accept or reject application if convicted of any other crime in the last 15 years after discussing the nature of the crime with the applicant.

I’m open to suggestions on how to improve this written policy.


Updated Tenant Screening Policy
Applicants must meet the following
1 600 Fico
2 No Current Collection accounts
3 No 60 day lates in the past 12 mos
4 No BK’s
5 No unpaid judgements
6 At least one trade line open for 24 months no lates/no 30 day/no 60 day/no 90 day.
1 Applicant must earn 3 times the current space rent
No previous eviction past 5 years

How about crimes? Or do you handle that on a case by case basis?

In CA I am not allowed to eliminate a prospective tenant for past criminal history.

We may only use the following criteria to screen prospective residents.

(c) Management shall not withhold approval from a prospective purchase of a mobilehome unless any of the following apply:
(1) Management reasonably determines that, based upon the purchaser’s prior tenancies, they will not comply with the rules and regulations of the park.
(2) The purchaser does not have the financial ability to pay the rent, estimated utilities, and other charges of the park.
(3) The purchaser has committed fraud, deceit, or concealment of material facts during the application process.

Oh okay I understand. Being in Maine we are allowed to have a policy on past crime as long as it is uniformly applied to all tenants.

We have a park in Maine.
Per Fair Housing laws your criminal background check/criteria must be specific.

IE " No violent crimes in the past 10 years"

If you simply state " No Criminal background" that is considered discriminatory. Due to the fact that disadvantaged groups tend to commit more crimes.

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All good suggestions so far.
Depending on the quality of your community and your future plans for it I would consider a Fico score of 600 way to low unless you are accepting applicants on governmen support. If you accept welfare tenants the Fico dosn’t matter. If you do not accept welfare tenants then set your sights much higher than 600.
Statistically the failure to pay rent with a Fico at or near 600 is extreamly high. A 600 indicates they are living on the edge and the last thing you need is having to chase tenants for rent or be forced to evict.

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We don’t have to tell applicants why their applications were rejected, so we don’t give out that information. The place I manage, the landlord takes them on a case by case basis. We don’t do credit checks, but we do background checks. And anyone caught lying on the application is an automatic rejection, and in the lease it does say that they can be evicted if that happens. We do have questions on the application pertaining to being arrested/convicted, and we do look them up to the best of our ability.

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