Foothill Industry News (June 2024)

Last Updated: June 5, 2024By

As it is now June, we are entering the heart of the moving season. The beginning of 2024 had been particularly slow for rental turnover in our region, but since the beginning of May, that has changed for the better. As such, we will run down the best practices for getting great tenants to fill your vacancies.

During the screening process the landlord, or manager, will be putting together data about the applicant in order to best predict their future viability as a tenant. While asking the applicant directly can’t always result in trusted answers, there is good reason to begin every screening process by asking questions up front, as you’re showing the property, or answering a request for an application. Be sure to keep the same standards for all applicants. Asking different questions or raising the required credit score for a particular applicant you find unappealing is grounds for discrimination.

Here are some of the most important questions that a landlord/manager should ask:

  • Have you ever been evicted?
  • Have you ever broken a lease by leaving a property early?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Do you have any pets?
  • How many vehicles will you keep at the property?
  • Will we find anything upon running a criminal background check?
  • How many people will be living in the property?
  • How many adults will be living in the property?
  • Do you plan to run a business out of the property?
  • Do you have the ability to pay one month’s rent and a security deposit?
  • What is your credit score?
  • Have you ever filed for bankruptcy?
  • Have you ever been evicted before?
  • How much is your gross monthly income?
  • How much do you pay per month in debt payments?

Be sure to mention that you will be verifying all of this information.

  • Landlords can filter out the obviously unqualified applicants – All landlords should have minimum standards that all of their applicants meet. It doesn’t matter how good the rest of their application is, or the context surrounding the event, these people get filtered out automatically. This could be a violent crime in the last 12 months, multiple evictions, or a credit score below 550. Automatic rejection at this step saves money and time.
  • Landlords can compare gathered data to what’s answered here – Because the source of the information is biased, the landlord will verify it all later. If any discrepancies arise, you can either dismiss the application or talk to the applicant for clarification.
  • Many applicants won’t apply at all – Once an applicant sees the questions on the application (and that the landlord plans to verify all of the answers), they might decide to withhold their application altogether. Fewer unqualified applicants is always a good thing.

In addition to verifying their application is both legible and complete, make sure they have signed and dated the application, which gives you consent to gather more information about them. Without consent a landlord or manager would be guilty of breaking various privacy regulations and policies.

Every good tenancy application will describe the type of information you plan to gather.

This usually includes:

  • Tenant screening companies to pull credit and criminal background reports.
  • Eviction Check
  • Contacting current and previous landlords
  • Contacting current and previous employers
  • Contacting personal references
  • Criminal history usually includes a 7-year history of any misdemeanor and felony convictions for the applicant.

Warning: It is illegal to consider arrests when choosing a tenant for the property. Don’t ask about this information, but if you happen to come across it, don’t use it in determining who to give the lease to.

The good news is people are moving again, units are turning over. Just a few extra steps in the tenant screening process can make a big difference down the line.

Shared by the Foothill Apartment Owners Association (FAA)

FAA is a nonprofit trade association providing information, education, advocacy and services for rental property owners in the San Gabriel Valley and Foothill Communities.


All content within this column is provided for general information only and should not be treated as a substitute for the legal advice of your lawyer or any other financial or legal professional.

The FAA is not responsible or liable for any decision made by a reader based on the content of this article. The FAA is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the external sites listed.



Email Subscription

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Apartment News Publications. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact