Rules for Selecting Tenants


Looking for new tenants at your residential rental property? If so, then of course you want to find tenants who are reliable and responsible. As you screen your applicants, there are a few key “rules” worth following to ensure you end up with the right tenants for your rental.

1. Follow Fair Housing Laws

Above all else, be aware of housing laws and how to abide by them. Landlords and property managers are required to follow the Federal Fair Housing Act, which protects tenants from discrimination based on things like religion, race, and familial status. The last thing you want is a discrimination lawsuit, so be aware of these (and related) laws and follow them strictly.

2. Set a Maximum Number

To avoid overcrowding (and the problems that come with it), set a maximum number of renters per unit in your lease agreement. You can also set a maximum number of occupants per bedroom. Just be sure you’re in accordance with state and local laws, as well as Fair Housing laws in doing so.

3. Don’t Allow Smoking

While you cannot refuse to rent to a smoker, you are within your legal rights to not allow smoking inside your rental unit. Not allowing smoking works to everybody’s benefit by keeping adjacent/non-smoking tenants happy and protecting your walls, carpeting, and other parts of your rental unit from lingering odors and nicotine stains.

4. Run Background & Credit Checks

Running both criminal background checks and credit checks is another must when screening for tenants. A great credit score may indicate that a tenant will be more reliable when it comes to their rental payments. And of course, knowing an applicant’s criminal history can help you make a decision as well.

These are just a few of the most important rules you should follow when selecting tenants for your property. When in doubt, remember that an experienced property management company can handle this (and much more!) on your behalf.