How to Deny a Rental Application with Poise
The best way to deny an applicant is to be short, sweet, and to the point. If the decision was based in part or in whole on their credit score, then you are required to provide them with the recourse to obtain a free copy of their credit report. Prepare a standard letter or find someone who can provide one to you. You are only required to inform them:
- Their rental application has been denied,
- A notice that the decision was in part, or in whole, made based on their credit score,
- As such, they are entitled to a free credit report, and
- The contact information for the credit agency used.
This protects your legal liability, establishes clear and appropriate records, and effectively resolves your problem. You should never get into a protracted conversation with someone about why they were denied. Nothing good will come from having a detailed discussion about why you think they are not good enough. Denied tenants can be defensive, aggressive, and difficult. If you do have a discussion with the denied tenant, and they feel your decision was based upon discrimination, they'll get ready help from the local tenant advocacy groups.
Your only defense in court will be documentation proving that the decision was made on non-discriminatory grounds, and the only reliable proof of that is your letter stating the decision was made in part, or in whole, because of their credit! And your decision is ALWAYS based at least partly on credit… After all, I wouldn't rent to an obviously dangerous crack cocaine dealer even if they had a 700 credit score…my threshold for dangerous criminals is an absolute perfect 800 credit score and no lower! :-) So, it's always in part, or in whole, about their credit score.
For more landlord tips, check back at this blog frequently. If you're ready to manage your own properties, check out RentingYourHome and start saving 60%-80% over a traditional property manager.