The tenant screening process is incredibly important to eliminate poor candidates and reduce the likelihood of an eviction becoming necessary. However, when an applicant doesn’t meet your criteria, it can be difficult to know how to proceed. No one likes to be rejected, but this is an important step in protecting yourself and your property. As a landlord, you are running a business where it will likely become necessary to say no to a tenant application.

Know the Laws

The Fair Housing Act requires that landlords treat all applicants equally and fairly. This means that if one applicant is required to undergo a credit check, all of the applicants need to be held by the same standards. It can be particularly beneficial to write up a list of your criteria for tenants so that you can measure all applicants against this criteria. Don’t make exceptions if an applicant doesn’t measure up to your standards. Failure to screen every tenant equally can result in discrimination lawsuits.

Always Provide Rejections in Writing

If you need to say no to a tenant application, it is courteous to do so as soon as possible so that the applicant can continue searching for other rentals. It is important to deliver all rejections in writing, so that you have proof regarding the reason the applicant was rejected. If you don’t provide this, the rejected applicant may be able to claim that their rejection was due to discriminatory reasons, which will result in a legal headache for you. If you have multiple applicants that meet all of your requirements, you will still likely have to reject one. In these situations, make sure you extend the offer to one applicant and wait for their response. After this, you may inform the other applicants that the property is no longer available. Saying no to a tenant application certainly isn’t fun, but it is a necessary part of being a landlord. Ensure that you are familiar with the laws in your area to prevent possible legal issues from occurring. To learn more about how to say no to a tenant application, contact us at the Keyrenter in Richmond today!