Atlanta Property Management, Screening for Success, Investor Insight, Rental Property Preparation

Renters Warehouse Atlanta | February 25, 2021

How to Properly Screen Tenants for Your Atlanta Rental Property

Your Atlanta rental properties won't generate the income you need without the best local renters! Some investors don't realize the danger of placing poor-quality renters in their properties until they are stuck dealing with residents who don't pay the rent and cause property damage—and often refuse to leave.

Choosing a new tenant should be the start of an excellent relationship with someone who will deliver the rent on time and feel safe and happy in your rental property. However, good experiences with great renters don't happen by accident. 

If your stomach is in knots every time a good renter leaves and it's time to pick a new resident for your Atlanta rental property, the insights of a property manager can help ease your nerves! Follow these tips to properly screen tenants and experience better quality residents and more income.

Use a Reputable Service

Most online background screening services don't deliver what property owners need to evaluate a potential renter effectively. You might save a few dollars when using those services, but they can also put your investment property business and income at risk. 

Background screening requires careful handling of private information. If you're not sure how to legally protect personal data or evaluate whether an online screening resource follows the law, get the right kind of help. Choose an Atlanta property manager that understands how to screen tenants while remaining compliant with the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) when handling data. One breach of these rules can lead to a costly lawsuit from a potential renter.

Gavel, book, and flag background

Be Thorough

Never skip a step or overlook any information when conducting legal background checks for Atlanta rental property applicants. Ignoring one piece of information could be the red flag you need to rule out an applicant and choose a better tenant. 

Some investors might not realize how thorough you can be when applying a screening process that follows the law. For every applicant, include: 

  • A credit check to review history and confirm a minimum required score
  • Criminal history
  • Employment and income verification
  • Previous rental history, including evictions or defaults
  • Reference checks

An online screening service won't dig into the amount of information you need in each of these areas. Use your rental application to collect data (and permission) to perform these background checks. When dealing with this much private information, follow the law or work with a property manager to conduct these reviews, and protect your business and applicant privacy. 

Never Discriminate

If you're not sure how to comply with Fair Housing laws to avoid discrimination claims, use caution when proceeding with your screening process. While investors can set legal criteria to qualify for their rentals, being "too" picky can violate the law and become a costly problem. In some cases of discrimination, investors can lose their ability to operate an Atlanta rental property. 

Before processing any applications, set your criteria. Use these established criteria to evaluate every applicant equally. 

Your qualification criteria can include requirements like:

  • Minimum income 
  • Minimum Credit score 
  • Allowed pets (for pet-friendly properties)
  • No prior evictions
  • Valid ID
  • Maximum number of residents in a property

Real estate investors must avoid choosing renters based on discriminatory traits. You cannot consider qualities including race, color, religion, gender, sexual preference, national origin, familial status, or a physical or mental disability when choosing residents for your rental properties. If a potential renter suspects you applied any of these criteria to deny them for your rental, they can file a lawsuit.

Cheerful latin kid holding keys from new home near happy hicpanic family

In addition to these criteria exclusions, Atlanta rental property owners must also be aware of changing laws that can affect protected classes when choosing new renters. The right property manager can navigate the screening process for you. Selecting a new resident is easier (and safer) when a property manager applies our expert screening methods and helps investors follow the laws. 

No matter your criteria for allowing residents into your properties, make sure it's clear in the property listing. Note any fees or deposits, the monthly rent amount, and that you require a background screening in order to qualify for your Atlanta rentals. 

Create a Thorough Rental Application

The screening process starts with the information you gather from the rental application. However, no matter how much information you collect on the application, never trust the details without running them through your screening process. 

Hire a Property Manager to Choose Better Renters

Placing the best tenants in your Atlanta rental property is a significant part of our job as property managers. Without the best residents, investors won't make as much as they could from their properties. Plus, bad renters create expensive problems that ruin your long-term income potential.

We are experts at creating effective rental applications and screening potential renters. Let Renters Warehouse Atlanta handle your screening process! We follow all laws to avoid discrimination claims, and we never settle for a renter who isn't the best choice for your property. 

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